As part of our 50th anniversary party, indie heartthrob Dan Mangan played an intimate show at the Straight offices last Friday (May 5).
The fourth in our series of #StraightUnplugged acoustic sets, the show was one contest winners and staff won't soon forget.
Here's a bit of history about our relationship with Dan: In addition to being on the cover twice, he's regaled readers with stories and anecdotes in the pages of the Straight on more than one occasion.
On Friday, he was kind enough to play the show despite having just an hour and a half of sleep the night before (read: two small children, one of them of them seriously under the weather, which kept him up all night), and dealing with some nasty plumbing issues at home, proving to everyone that he is in fact just as nice in real life as he is in his music.
To top it all off, Mangan took requests from the audience, which made for a set that had die-hard fans in the building absolutely ecstatic.
Classics like "Road Regrets", "Indie Queens are Waiting", and "Robots" had the whole room singing along as Mangan walked into the crowd for a bring-the-house-down finale that even had tough-guy music editor Mike Usinger shedding a few tears.
If you missed the concert and our live Facebook broadcast, you can relive it by watching the videos below.
1. After his introduction, Dan told the audience how he begged music editor Mike Usinger to be put on the cover of the Georgia Straight for the first time in 2009.
"I campaigned for that first cover like you would not believe," he said. "I sent him an email, and the subject heading, literally, was '10 reasons why you'd be a fool not to put me on the cover'."
With his wife and two sons in tow, Mangan also cracked a joke at his own expense about bringing a baby to to a concert.
Check it all out in the first minute of the video for "Road Regrets".
2. Before playing "Indie Queens are Waiting", Mangan told the audience the story of how he got Vancouver singer-songwriter Veda Hille to accompany him on piano when he was recording the song—even after she had broken a finger.
"All the piano you hear is done with her non-broken hand," he says. "That's the GS1: Behind the Music."
Watch it in the first minute of the video below.
3. During "Indie Queens", Mangan's youngest son can be heard cooing in the background. It's around that time the the lyrics in the song seem to perfectly address Mangan's feelings toward the situation. It gets a good laugh out of the audience.
Hear it just after 3:15.
4. During the intro to Mangan's latest single, "Race to the Bottom", he talks about the state of the world.
"When I wrote it, things hadn't really quite gotten to where they are," he says. "The song's kind of about how none of us really have the whole picture, and also about how nostalgia is dangerous, because when you start harkening back to the good old days, it brings up these Norman Rockwell ideas of how people were so kind to each other, but they don't really think about the person hanging on the tree next to it."
Watch it below.
(Nothing major during "Post-war Blues" but it's a pretty great song, so you should probably watch the video anyway.)
5. Part of the whole #StraightUnplugged gig is covering a song written anytime after May 5, 1967, the day the Straight was born. Though he admitted it probably wasn't a surprise because he recorded a version of the song for his 2016 EP, Unmake, Mangan played a stripped-down version of "Hang with Me" by Robyn. His emotive, sometimes-raspy voice paired almost too perfectly with the song's heartfelt lyrics.
Check out the cover here.
6. While his last song of the evening can't quite qualify as a "moment", it was certainly the highlight of the show. Before playing the five-minute rendition of "Robots", Mangan drew attention to two members of the audience who were clearly hardcore fans.
"I wasn't sure if we were gonna play this song, but we have robot costumes in the house, so we have to do it," he said. After walking fearlessly into the crowd, Mangan had the whole room clapping along and singing acapella, before finishing the song off by giving his son a high-five. (Is there really a sweeter performer in the city? You'd be hardpressed to convince this Straight writer of it.)
You'd be silly not to watch the whole thing.
Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page to win tickets to our next #StraightUnplugged show. We're planning one for each month of 2017.