Danny Michel / Selina Koop Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver BC September 18
Published Sep 20, 2010It's a testament to Danny Michel's charisma that the singer-songwriter was able to win over the Saturday night crowd at the Biltmore. The room was packed and buzzing with energy, and this meant that the concertgoers talked loudly throughout opener Selina Koop's set. Her quiet piano ballads were pretty, but the chatter spoiled the intimacy of the songs.
Once Michel came on stage, however, all attention was on him. Unaccompanied, and armed only with his electric guitar and a loop pedal, the Kitchener-Waterloo-based troubadour began with the eerie "Into the Flame," looping his rhythm track and firing off a nimble spaghetti western solo. He followed this up with the noir ballad "The Invisible Man," which included an interpolation of the James Bond theme that was half funny, half menacing. Despite these creepy opening songs, Michel kept the tone light throughout most of his performance. This meant playing a jokey snippet of David Bowie's "China Girl," as well as breaking off "Whale of a Tale" to tell a story about a man who claimed to have sung "Joy to the World" to the Pope.
The non-stop humour could have gotten tiresome were it not for Michel's virtuosic guitar playing. He replicated the lush studio arrangement of "Maybe You Can Find It in Your Heart" by looping multiple guitar parts, and the rhythms were so tight that it inspired some dancing at the sides of the room. On the countrified "Tennessee Tobacco," he blazed through a searing solo and even some heavy metal-style tapping. The set lasted an hour-and-a-half, but the audience's attention never lagged, even during the barely-there hush of "I Will Love You for Miles," which came during the encore. The show ended at 11 p.m., as the club was reserved for a late-night dance party. Still, it's tough to imagine that even a DJ set could have more energy than Danny Michel.