Friday, March 09, 2007

A Brief History of Badly Drawn Boy in Detroit

As Badly Drawn Boy (aka Damon Gough) gears up for his 5th Detroit visit since 2000, let's take a piss in the wind and look back at his previous stops. Cheers.

Visit #1: 11/10/00 - Badly Drawn Boy @ Magic Bag - Ferndale, MI
Album Promoting: Hour of Bewilderbeast
Gough's age: 31

I was there, I was there at the Magic Bag.Gough's 1st ever U.S. tour and his 1st stop in Metro-Detroit. The show wasn't exactly sold out, but Gough nonetheless told us his next Detroit appearance would be in a much larger sports arena and that we'd be able to say "we saw him at the Magic Bag". The show was over 3 hours long and towards the end, Gough was standing on top of tables in the crowd either cussing out the Magic Bag's owner or reading a flyer of the venue's upcoming events. "Who the fuck are the Twistin' Tarantulas?" still sticks out in my mind.

That night at the Magic Bag also set the template of what to expect from future shows: ungodly amounts of cigarettes smoked (an ashtray was actually affixed to his mic stand), large chunks of time devoted to drunken-like rambling which at times causes the band to abandon him onstage and finally, set lengths to rival even the most seasoned jam band.

Related: Aaron Warshaw of Metro Times previews BDB's 1st U.S. Tour afew days prior to The Magic Bag stop.

Visit #2: 4/28/01 - Badly Drawn Boy @ St. Andrews - Detroit, MI
Album Promoting: Hour of Bewilderbeast
Gough's age: 31

BDB is a big, Big Matt Fan!Nearly 5 months after Gough said we'd next see him in a sports arena,he returned to Detroit via St. Andrews Hall (with a capacity of about 800 more than The Magic Bag).

Of my four BDB shows, this one is the favorite. The opening act was a short film of Gough playing a day in the life of Bon Jovi's pool boy. After the film, security guards parted the capacity crowd on the mainfloor down the middle so Gough could make his way to the stage. With small American flags on toothpicks sticking out of his trademark hat, he began what would be a another long night full of chatter (he compared himself to Bono at one point) and Bewilderbeast songs. All of this after the Rocky theme played of course.

It is also interesting to note that he spent much of the show's first half discussing his wife and newborn daughter between songs (he even passed around a baby picture while stressing it better make its way back to the stage). However, as the night went on, he began some heavy flirting with girls in the crowd and I'm pretty sure he invited one (or more) backstage. Always the family, er, ladies man.

Visit #3: 10/25/02 - Badly Drawn Boy/Adam Green @ St. Andrews -Detroit, MI
Album Promoting: Have you Fed the Fish?
Gough's age: 33

Oh, thanks, a music box, thanks a lot BDBBy 2002, live BDB shows had gained enough of a reputation for QMagazine to list him as one of the Top 50 Live Acts to See Before You Die. This claim even came after a few online BDB forums began comparing Gough's live antics from city to city only to determine the chaos may be much more "controlled" than previously thought. As early as 2001, fans were reporting seemingly identical rants and fits at each gig from city to city. However, with both the About A Boy soundtrack and Have you Fed the Fish released in 2002, BDB awareness in the U.S. was at a new high.

Despite all the hype, the 2002 St. Andrews show was pretty tame. Since it fell on a Friday night, the show had an early curfew (10:00 PM if I remember correctly) to make way for "Club Night". Not sure if Gough knew this ahead of time, but while still on stage he laced into both St.Andrews management and the club goers waiting outside for forcing him to cut his set short.

Visit #4: 11/27/04 - Badly Drawn Boy/Adem @ St. Andrews - Detroit, MI
Album Promoting: One Plus One is One
Gough's age: 35

Let's see, cig check, haven't shaved in 2.6 days check, running jacket, check, hat... oh fuck.The first order of business for Gough in 2004 as he took the St.Andrews stage for a third time was making sure we all knew he'd be playing two sets. He then made it clear the first set would consist entirely of the latest album, One Plus One is One, from start to finish. By the start of the second set, it felt like half the crowd had left. As that set drew to a close (somewhere between 1:00-2:00 AM), almost everyone was gone. Pity really, they missed long stories about where Gough shops for records in his native U.K.

The 2004 stop is easily the weakest of his four Detroit shows, but it did include one memorable moment: During Adem's opening set, Damore and I spotted Gough hanging out near the sound board. Damore mentioned the Bon Jovi pool boy film to which Gough replied, "Were you there? Were you there at the Magic Bag?" He then shooshed us by saying "Quiet. This is the greatest song ever written" as he turned his attention back to Adem's set. Despite Gough mixing up his Detroit show continuity, the whole encounter became legendary overnight.

Which brings us to...

Visit #5: 3/9/07 - Badly Drawn Boy/Adem @ Majestic - Detroit, MI
Album Promoting: Born in the U.K.
Age: 37

Dude, nice rig.Two years and one album later, we have no reason to believe the new tour will be any different. A fan going by the name "Mamamoth" posted on the itcamefromtheunderground BDB forum in regards to last Fall's LA show that "Damon threw tantrums, insulted us, spat water, kept complaining about the sound, smoked cigarettes violently, threw empty matchbooks around, and acted like a primadonna bitch."

The Philadelphia Daily News has also reported that Gough, along with his four-piece band, will be covering Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road"at every show during the US Tour. All this AND, with Adem on the bill again, we'll all have a second chance to hear the greatest song ever written. Best.

Related: Live Daily's review of Badly Drawn Boy in Washington DC on3/6/07

--Nummer

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Grizz said...

Nummer rules. This write-up was captivating and well-informed. Cheers!

3:40 PM  
Blogger Uncle Grambo said...

Were you there? Nice work, Nummer.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny & informative, great write-up. So Best.

-Damore

6:55 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Best. Post. Evar.

12:10 PM  

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