Thursday, November 1, 2012

Show review: Daughn Gibson at the Empty Bottle, 10/29

By Adam Bonich

Walking into Monday night’s Daughn Gibson show at The Empty Bottle, I had prepared myself for an Alpha-male showdown -- and I fuckin’ got one. Gibson, the baritone-crooning native of Pennsylvania, has developed quite the reputation since releasing his debut album, All Hell, in March of 2012. I mean, has he actually developed “quite the reputation”? I don’t know, but he was once described as charismatic and handsome, and I wasn’t about to let some “electro-cowboy” invade my den without executing a few angry fist pumps. Well, turned out the place was too dark for distant threats, so I just slunk into a PBR and out-flexed him beneath my sweater. C’est la vie.  

If I were to describe Daughn’s music, I might place it just inside the boundaries of a retro-futuristic-country spectrum. Oozing with electronic pulses, guitars, offbeat narratives, and the deepest voice this side of a tranquilized Will Ferrell from Old School; it’s a distinctive mish-mash of modern electronics and barroom country that I haven’t quite heard before. Style points? Sure, he’s gets a few, or maybe several -- but is it merely enough to “sound cool”? (YES, says generation Pitchfork) Well, no, although it certainly doesn’t hurt. Fortunately, D-Gibs has a predilection for melody and the means to texturize his sampled electronics in savvy, impressionable ways. He also possesses enough self-confidence to guide his tunes away from vague imagery and toward the subtly sly realms of his stark imagination. It’s cool stuff. Having said that, to fully enjoy Mr. Gibson, you really have come to terms with that whole, “Elvis on Quaaludes” vocal thing.

The show is actually what tipped my overall opinion in the man’s favor. I teased it before, but the guy does have an oddly unaffected charm about him -- what with his proclivity for slow-mo dance poses and timely quips. “It’s been real and it’s been fun… But it ain’t been real fun,” he coyly remarked before exiting the stage. I mean, golly, it’s enough to really sway a person. Like say for example, your girlfriend or your mom (burn).

Shifting from one throbbing-electro-diversion to the next, I was struck by that vague feeling of authenticity one gets while witnessing someone in the possession of “it.” Like Simon Cowell always says, (affected British accent) “when you walked onto that stage, I saw a star.” Yes, he’s got talent, but he also operates within a super niche musical style, one that will undoubtedly limit his reach; and hell, maybe even his peak-enjoyability. That’s okay though, I like to imagine an artist like Daughn playing roadside bars and seedy-indie joints (smelly ass hipsters). He’s a man with stories to tell and he’s gonna do it all in his very own unique way. Come on Daughn, be our Indie-Elvis! You can do it bro, just don’t try to out-Alpha me next time. Know what I mean? 

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