. : : September 18th, 2012 : : .
Only a handful of weeks after Whitehorse‘s Toronto album release party for The Fate Of The World Depends On This Kiss at the Dakota Tavern, Six Shooter Records‘ album mate Danny Michel followed suit with a last minute show at one of Toronto’s best sounding, most intimate venues to introduce the world to his latest disc, Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me. And when I say last minute, I mean last minute. Even though I follow Danny and Six Shooter on all the major social medias, I didn’t even know it was happening until some 12-hours before it started.
Luckily, my work schedule was set to end fairly early, giving me enough time to not only make it to the venue well ahead of schedule, but also to secure a seat (yes, oddly, tables and chairs were set out in front of the stage for this show!) right in the front row, closest to my favourite place to tape (right in front of the right-hand speaker). Although I was a bit worried the decreased elevation of a seated position would affect the sound quality of the recording, my fears proved baseless. This is yet another fantastic Danny Michel recording.
Like Whitehorse before them, this performance was also a fundraider — this time for the Ocean Academy, a children’s music school in Belize where Danny recorded his last two albums, and a source of inspiration to much of the material.
The show itself was unusual for me. I’d seen him perform so many times on the back of the Sunset Sea album, I began to anticipate his setlists. But, on the back of a literally just-released album of new material, I found myself in strikingly unfamiliar territory. Some new faces littered the backing players, and almost half the songs was ones I had never heard before in any form.
Danny was generous in the setlist’s formation, oscillating between new and old material from song to song, which helped maintain wide-eyed interest amongst the sea of unfamiliarity. He also took his time to introduce much of the newer songs to us, including an amusing anecdote about a Belize local prodigal musician who joined his recording process and a Christopher Walken tangent.
All-in-all, it was another great experience spear-headed by Danny Michel’s vibrant energy and powerful tunes that mix North and Central American pop with a unique taste of Canadiana. The 11-minute closer, and always set-highlight, The Switchman threatened to steal the show, but it had an exceptional amount of work to do to earn the accolade.
This recording is another must-have for Danny Michel fans — and if you don’t count amongst yourself them yet, well, what are you waiting for?
02. Maybe You Can Find It In Your Heart
03. A Cold Heart
05. Wish Willie
07. What Colour Are You
09. Who’s Going To Miss You
10. Break It You Buy It
11. Feather, Fur and Fin
13. Into The Light
16. The Switchman