Effortless talent

Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Mangan rocked the Burton Cummings Theatre on Nov. 1 with his renowned growling voice and songs that have the ability to get everyone on their feet and put the entire crowd in a ballad-induced trance only minutes later.

After a one-hour performance by the Rural Alberta Advantage, Mangan took the stage. He played a variety of songs from the albums Nice, Nice, Very Nice, Oh, Fortune and his new 7” Radicals, entertaining the crowd in between songs with anecdotes about Winnipeg, including rave reviews of Mondragon and Deer + Almond.

Mangan continually puts on interactive shows, connecting with the audience at every opportunity available – this one was no different. Mangan often gave a back-story of the songs he was about to perform. Preceding “Road Regrets,” a song that produced an eruption of cheers from the audience when the first lyric was sung, Mangan spoke of his inspiration for the song, which came from a long drive to Texas in which he found himself in the middle of a harsh storm.

Mangan immersed himself fully in the audience, entering into the crowd and playing for the audience in the balcony while standing on a seat in the first few rows, often getting the crowd to sing harmonies and lyrics along with him.

Towards the end of the show, Mangan encouraged those who didn’t have floor access tickets to enter the area anyways, much to appreciation of his fans and the dismay of event security.

Mangan told the Manitoban how amazing it is to see people who continually attend his shows who have followed his career from when he was opening for bands at the Lo Pub to now crowded shows at large venues such as the Garrick Theatre and the Burton Cummings Theatre.

When asked if touring has changed with his increasing popularity, Mangan explained that logistically it has but that the core remains the same.

“When it comes down to it, it has to do with the time you’re on stage and the people you are in front of and trying to make that as special as possible [ . . . ] you have to get the most out of the good stuff on stage.”

His new 7” was less of an anxiety-driven release, according to Mangan, who is typically very emotionally involved in his albums.

“I like the idea of a song on each side. It’s kind of a nostalgic thing to do. It’s an old thing to do,” said Mangan.

It makes sense, then, that Radicals consists of a B-side from Oh, Fortune and a Yukon Blonde cover, a band that he performed with at his wedding last month. The album has been released on vinyl and is available digitally.

Admittedly not a songwriter who composes love songs, Mangan doesn’t expect that to change now that he is married. Mangan writes about a wide variety of topics, ranging from his hometown of Vancouver (comparing the ever-changing city to Tina Turner’s career) in “Tina’s Glorious Comeback,” to the idea of aging gracefully in “Basket.”

Mangan’s fast track success is evident in the recent release of a documentary centered on the artist. “What Happens Next,” directed and produced by Jon Siddall and Brent Hodge, follows Mangan on the night before his performance at the Orpheum theatre in Vancouver.

“They did a good job of being flies on the wall [ . . . ] Obviously it’s a very flattering thing to have a film made about you. It’s kind of a weird thing to get over,” explained Mangan.

After a few more weeks touring and a European tour with Jason Collett, Mangan will be taking a break and then aims to be back in the studio by late 2013.

The Nov. 1 show proved once again that Mangan’s seemingly effortless talent, humility, and charming presence on stage all come together to produce a dynamic show that you’ll be sorry to miss. Do yourself a favour and check out Mangan’s next performance – I can guarantee that you won’t regret it.