mike doughty does soul coughing and it is kind of the most awesome thing ever

Whew! There have been so many recent angry rant posts. Time for something refreshing that I have been brewing together for quite some time now.

Okay, so I am a huge, huge, huge Mike Doughty fan. I live a delusional, romantic lifestyle in which I claim that any moment of my life could be expressed through one of his lyrics. He’s the coolest, trust me on that one.

So on July 31st, I went to this:

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 6.00.18 PM

If you are unfamiliar with Mike Doughty’s music, it may prove difficult to convince you that this was a HUGE deal. One, it is incredibly awesome to do a double show. Second, he performed Soul Coughing songs for the first time live in over a decade. Yeah, Soul Coughing? Remember this video? I tend to be a bigger fan of Doughty’s solo albums, but I was in love with the deep bass riffs on many of the Soul Coughing songs (okay, and “Circles” is just plain catchy). So a reinterpretation of Soul Coughing songs 10 years later is cool, but I didn’t realize how incredibly brave this reinterpretation actually turned out to be for Doughty. I had somewhat recently finally came around to reading his autobiography The Book of Drugs. Talk about a journey of emotions. Damn. After reading the book, I felt devastatingly guilty for liking any Soul Coughing song. The destructive and manipulative relationships of the band members that led Doughty down a dark path carved an enormous sort of friction towards any feeling I had towards all of this music I had really liked. Never had I had such a sour taste in my mouth after reading a book. All I wanted to do was give Mike Doughty a hug.

So when it was announced that MD was to reinterpret Soul Coughing songs, I was floored. But also incredibly pumped. After all, they were actually his own songs that he had written. Every single one of them. And now he was to redo them exactly how he wanted them to be heard. And I was to hear them live for the first time. In NYC. Holy cow.

To summarize the night, I will just post the notes regarding the setlist that I took on Evernote during the show:

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 4.43.07 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-29 at 4.44.14 PMI should probably clarify several things: [1] I think one is able to understand most song notes until “josh” which doesn’t happen to be a song at all but actually was a break in the show in which “josh” paid enough money on PledgeMusic to get the chance to smash one of MD’s guitars onstage. So, that happened. [2] “I’m dying” refers to the song, “Where have you gone?” as I think I was literally dying from happiness to be able to hear this song live. [3] “well….f*ckkkk” I think refers to a literal quote by MD before he played the final encore song. Things were getting a bit hazy at that time though.

The thing about having a show at City Winery (especially a double show) is that the audience is seated the entire time with nothing to do but sit back, enjoy the show, and guzzle wine at a rate one never thought possible (not that this is a bad thing at all). This is reflected in the progressive uninterpretability of my notes as the night unfurls.

The other thing that results from having a double show at City Winery is that pretty much only really diehard fans are sticking around for the second show. However, by this time everyone is at least on their second bottle of wine and passive aggressively showing off how much well they know the lyrics to “Madeline” or trying to think of the most obscure Soul Coughing song to shout out and request. Finally, all that remains after the second show is the same amount of diehard fans, except now they are all hiccuping and discussing how incredible the last four hours of their life were. Too much wine also results in people totally freaking out when MD leaves the venue pretty much screaming and chasing him back to his humble Brooklyn abode. So, I almost met Mike Doughty.

Last week, the polished album finally arrived and it has far exceeded my expectations. I was considering going through each song discussing thoughts regarding the SC version v. the MD version, but I’ll spare you and let you find out for yourself. Everything I loved is still there: the bass, the samples…but they are so well-crafted and detailed that the major difference is that each piece is how it is meant to be heard. The most important thing is the accomplishment of making this record and being happy while doing it.


Must-hears: “True Dreams of Wichita” and “The Idiot Kings” (To me, “Circles” is still “Circles” :P)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s