(PHOTO CREDIT MIKE DOUGHTY)
“Please don’t tell anybody tonight’s show was any different from the rest of the tour,” Mike Doughty asked ironically. Sorry, Mike, you were a little late with that, and it probably wouldn’t have worked anyway.
After all, he and his full band – his first in many years – were already mid-second set when he made his plea, and word had obviously already circumnavigated the globe that Brendan B. Brown of Wheatus had fallen ill (as did singer/guitar player Gabby Sturbenz) and couldn’t open for Doughty’s show at the Flour City station in Rochester.
That’s when Doughty said, “Fuck it. we’ll just open for ourselves. Hi everyone. We’re 27 Jennifers, the finest Mike Doughty cover band around.”
“Get down here. Get down here now,” one fan intoned into his iPhone. “Two sets of Doughty.”
Indeed, many called it the show of the tour. That’s no knock on Brown and Wheatus, one of the all-time greats of pop-punk, a band that will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. But this tour was exactly what everyone was waiting for – both Soul Coughing fans and Doughty fans – full band playing the entire catalog. Nothing is off limits.
While early shows were one long set of Doughty playing roughly 2/3 Soul Coughing, 1/3 Doughty solo material what made the first set so special was that for the only time this tour, Doughty was also able to give a steady diet of his solo work too, and he left almost no stone unturned. He, Scrap, and drummer Indiana Pete were a power trio, muscling relentlessly through such favorites as Tremendous Brunettes, 27 Jennifers, and Rising Up (a welcome surprise in the middle of MoonSammy). Yet they also impressed with the most hard-driving version of Ossining I’ve heard, as well as the wildly popular Soft Serve.
Come second set, joined by the rest of his band except for Brown, it was “Set the Wayback Machine, Sherman,” as a blistering Screenwriter Blues lit the fuse for Doughty’s beatnik classics. Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago gave way to a darker, more nihilistic read to his normally cheerful I Hear the Bells. The set reached it’s most drippingly acidic with Bus to Beelzebub.
There were dancy, bouncy hits as well, most notably, Grey Ghost, Circles, and the quintessential Shunned and Falsified. Two excellent mashups – How Many Cans/Monster Man and Still I have Not Found the Science/Put it Down – brought us to the “Fake Last Song” of St. Louise is Listening.
The addition of the drums had two beneficial impacts. First, Scrap could rumble on his bass far more than when it’s he and Doughty alone, where he’s forced to bow a lot more.That sometimes turns rockers into dirges – Madeline and 9 for instance, one of only two notable Doughty solo absences Sunday, Unsingable Name being the other. It also meant more dancing, a welcome change from standing around nodding politely, sometimes in a stranger’s living room.
All this bodes well for Doughty’s career arc. Wheatus is not only legendary, they know everyone in pop punk. Doughty will benefit from the connections (crossover between genres means a wider demo, Dude). Moreover, Doughty has emerged from his cocoon, hopefully for good. Full band + entire repertoire = an artist firing on all cylinders.
Busting up a Starbucks
I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep on Dancing
Down on the River by the Sugar Plant
Super Bon Bon
Looking at the World From the Bottom of a Well
Is Chicago, is not Chicago
I Hear the Bells
Bus to Beelzebub
Wait! You’ll Find a Better Way
More Bacon than the Pan Handle->
Shunned n Falsified->
How Many Cans->
How Many Cans
Still I Have not Found The Science->
Put I Down->
Still I Have not Found The Science->
St. Louise is Listening
Encore = Janine
NEWS NOTES AND QUOTES
It was strange to see an artist play only one song off his new album, but in this case THANK YOU. More classics. There’s always next tour to hear the new songs.
Rock-chester lived up to its name yet again. There’s something about an I-90 northeast show, from Buffalo to Boston and everywhere in between. even in winter the crowds roar like thunder, and the band responds with lightning.
As akways, Tapas 177, just 3/4 of a mile from Flour City station and mere steps from Water Street Music Hall was completely civilized for pre-game. Spicy penne with chorizo and shrimp paired with caiprinhas…perfect together, especially wen watching beautiful people flamenco and salsa.