Badly Drawn Boy
October 8, 2004 - Showbox - Seattle, WA
review by Ashley Graham
"I could die now after that," utters Badly Drawn Boy Damon Gough of his reaction to Bruce Springsteen dedicating "Thunder Road" to his son at a festival, "But hopefully I won't."

Gough is a short, stocky, long-haired, beanie-wearing singer/songwriter of a rare breed.  His on-stage presence is charming; he jumps from behind the keyboard to center stage frequently, he makes subtle witty comments to his audience, and he has a rapport with his musicians that seems, if is not the actual case, to be a true friendship.  Gough and his band mates are dedicated to the best performance, and they give it.

And while after an hour and a brief break the band launches into some of their old crowd-pleasers, the focus of tonight's show is most definitely on the new album "One Plus One is One."

At the start of the show, Gough announces that the first hour will be used to play the new album in its entirety.  An interesting choice no doubt, but as he claims he is "very proud of it."  He pauses in between songs for dedication or explanation of each song, and in doing so gives the audience a peak inside his creative process.

He tells his listeners of Bruce Springsteen covering his "Life Turned Upside Down" and of his father's tombstone inscription inspiring the lyrics for "Take the Glory," reciting the line with emotion before starting the song; "To live in the hearts of those that you loved/Is not to die."  He dedicates "Year of the Rat" to all the ladies in the crowd, and dedicates "Fewer Words" to deceased singer/songwriter Elliott Smith, whom he refers to as the "kindest person" and one of the best songwriters he has ever known.

Gough is thoughtful and his more intimate moments with the crowd reflect this.  He is a passionate performer, but more importantly he is a passionate man.  He talks of his love of performing, but his need to be home with his family.  He jokes with the crowd, but also shares himself with them in a very serious way.

You can see countless bands get onstage and rock their way through a set of songs that stun, but there is something wholly different about experiencing the performance of a true songwriter.  Gough's music is a welcome distraction from much of what is deemed "popular" today, but more importantly Gough's attitude and presence are refreshing.  An evening with all of these elements combined is definitely a delight to the senses.
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