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Dan Mangan w/ Aysanabee at Bronson Centre Music Theatre 10.27.23 – Apartment613

todayOctober 29, 2023 5

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What’s the perfect remedy for dealing with the headache of Ottawa construction traffic on a Friday night? Walking into the Bronson Centre Music Theatre for a night of music with Dan Mangan, and opener Aysanabee.

I made sure to get to the venue early, as I always make sure to catch opening acts, and I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about Juno-nominated Oji-Cree singer/songwriter Aysanabee. His solo set was stunning, as he deftly blended acoustic guitar with shimmery reverb trails and soulful, powerful vocals. It’s not very often you see an opening act get a standing ovation and shouts from the crowd for “One more song!,” but Aysanabee definitely earned it with his performance.

Dan Mangan made his entrance from the back of the room, heard but not seen from the front, as he narrated his way through the crowd, before he made his way to the stage, to start the show alone on stage for a mini acoustic set. Dan has a uniquely recognizable voice that seems effortless and conversational as he weaves stories through songs. His warm and affable personality make each show feel welcoming and personal. He paused occasionally to pull up song requests from his phone, often getting an immediate reaction from those in the crowd who had made those requests. He closed out the acoustic set with the emotionally-charged fan favourite “Basket.”

Joined by his talented band, the remainder of Mangan’s set was rich and emotive, at times quiet and introspective, and at other times a chaotic blend of searing guitar solos and drum fills, set against pitch-perfect harmonies.

One of the humorous moments of the night was when Mangan performed “Robots” and was joined onstage by a fan dressed head to toe in a pumpkin costume, with a sign that said “Robots/Pumpkins need love too.”

Mangan’s banter between songs is always as entertaining as his music. He interacted with the audience in a way that made us all feel like we were part of a unique and shared experience. He introduced the song “In Your Corner,” which was written as a tribute to Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchinson, saying, “We lost Scott in 2018, a very tragic day. He was a guy who had a lot of insight and also a lot of overwhelm… and the two are married.” As he was about to continue, he was interrupted by a woman standing on the balcony. She wanted to thank him for the tickets to the show, and tearfully explained that she had been really affected by the song, having had her own struggles with depression. She had previously reached out to Dan to express her gratitude for the song, and he had graciously gifted her tickets to the show. It was a poignant and touching moment that highlighted the power of the shared gift of music, as Dan and this woman shared a moment between balcony and stage. Mangan said, “I know what music has done for me, and if I can do the same I will have successfully created a loop. People will be less existentially alone for making the exchange. This goes out to Scott, to Lynn and to anyone else.”

While it was difficult to outdo the power and emotion of that exchange, the band closed out the night with Dan starting on stage with an acoustic guitar that was lit from within, as he started “So Much For Everyone,” eventually snaking his way through to the centre of the crowd, followed by the rest of the band, who were playing percussion instruments that were also lit up. This created a gentle glow from within the crowd and Mangan, the band and the crowd sang along, effectively closing that loop he had earlier referred to, between artist and audience. It’s the kind of moment that gives you goosebumps.


Dan Mangan’s “Going Somewhere” tour continues with dates across Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes.



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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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