The Gin Club, Mike Noga & the Gentlemen of Fortune and Dan Mangan

The Greenroom, 11 April 2008
By Amy Dowler

Dan Mangan, a singer-songwriter from Vancouver, opened the night at the Greenroom last Friday. He went down a treat with the enthusiastic crowd although this reviewer found neither his songs nor his voice compelling enough for the sparse acoustic guitar accompaniment ” hopefully next time he comes to Australia he can afford to bring along a band.

Mike Noga plays drums in the best band in the world right now. He is the frontman for the Gentlemen of Fortune, this, no doubt, an attempt to step out of the shadow of that band to flex his own song-writing muscle (although the use of the lyric “na” in the place of intelligible words for an entire chorus was an obvious allusion ” Drones fans will know what I”m talking about). The Gentlemen of Fortune put on a spirited show but the marriage of their country flavoured rock n roll and Noga”s Gallagher-esque vocals was more often than not uncomfortable. Still, the Gentlemen provided the aesthete”s highlight of the night when a young couple ballroom danced to one of their alt-country ballads; even the band was transfixed by the charm of it all.

Having gone to the gig basically to satiate an unhealthy Drones obsession that requires my presence at even the most obscure of side projects of that band”s members (particularly living as we do in a town where they apparently do not deign to tour), I had little to no expectations for the headliners of the night, the Gin Club. I am happy to report that I was swiftly disabused of any indifference: they were great. Having something in the order of eight multi-talented members, nearly all of whom swapped instruments between each and every song, the Gin Club were a joy; their music blessedly distinct from any of the fashionable revival pretensions that dominate contemporary music. If I”d had any cash I would have bought the (double) album on the spot.

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