Badly Drawn Boy.

We drove out to Charlton yesterday to visit with my uncle. An hour and a half drive on the day after Thanksgiving is not exactly my favorite post-Thanksgiving treat, but I suppose it beats fighting the crowds of psychos at the mall. We take the minivan on these family excursions, which is always a fun time to reconnect with my wife’s iPod. Yesterday felt like a Badly Drawn Boy day, and what a great day it was.

Why is Damon Gough not on everyone’s play list? Why does he struggle in obscurity? He can hold his own with any of the contemporary lo-fi indie popsters. Beck. Bright Eyes. They’ve got nothing on Badly Drawn Boy. This is the music that was created for the 90s, post rave, chill-out crowd; maybe the male version of Beth Orton. There are so many incongruities in this music. A voice so fragile that he seems always just about to lose control of the song. Lyrics so excruciatingly gentle and romantic they seem about to burst. All coming from a guy that looks much more like a homeless British football brawler than a genius pop songsmith.

My brother- and sister-in-law sent me to see him for my birthday a couple of years ago at the Somerville Theatre. What a beautiful train wreck that show was. It now stands among my all-time favorites. Damon was sick; he had that kind of cold that leaves you fuzzy and numb. He kept losing his voice and his fingers didn’t seem to be working properly. He stormed off stage at least 3 times during the show, pissed off because things weren’t working out for him. This was no diva-style temper tantrum though. This was an artist near agony because he couldn’t perform for his crowd.

It was an unbelievable experience. Very uncomfortable but at the same time very inclusive. I’ve read accounts of Dylan shows from the sixties where he and the audience antagonized each other to the verge of riot. Now don’t get me wrong. There was no violence to be had at this show but I can’t ever remember feeling such a part of a show, feeling such a connection with the band; and I’ve spend my fair share of time climbing on stage to sing the chorus of my favorite hardcore songs. 5 songs into the show and I can feel myself willing him to succeed. “Just one more song, Damon. You can do it. I just know you can.” My blood pressure rose each time he missed a note. There was a sheen of sweat on my forehead by the end of the night. Damn, I just wanted him to succeed so badly.

There was a passion in that hall that night. Damon cared so much about the performance and was so unwilling to let anyone down that he drew everyone in the audience into his struggle; his battle to finish the show in style and with integrity. That night I was certain that, if given the chance, Badly Drawn Boy could actually save the world. I recommend that you give him the chance to save yours.

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~ by spinthis45 on November 30, 2008.

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