Last Night: Fionn Regan & Death Vessel

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Fionn Regan & Death Vessel
July 31, 2007
Sunset Tavern

Better Than: Ezra

Fionn Regan 's music is like oatmeal. It's probably good for you,


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Last Night: Fionn Regan & Death Vessel

Vastly overrated Mercury Prize nominee gets blown off the stage by mini-Todd Park Mohr.

  • Last Night: Fionn Regan & Death Vessel

  • ">

    fionndouche.jpg

    Fionn Regan & Death Vessel
    July 31, 2007
    Sunset Tavern

    Better Than: Ezra

    Fionn Regan's music is like oatmeal. It's probably good for you, but does very little on a sensory level. That Regan has been nominated for this year's Mercury Prize is more of a comment on the perpetually lame state of British pop music than it is on his talent. But that hasn't stopped scores of critics from lavishing praise on his album, The End of History, presumably because Regan is perceived as the UK resurrection of vintage Bob Dylan. Hogwash: To this listener's ears, History rarely evolves beyond the level of technically proficient yet utterly disposable massage therapy folk.

    In concert last night at the Sunset, Regan was equally bland, so much so that I walked out after a half-dozen songs (if the last half of his set somehow caught fire -- and I'm not sure how that's possible -- I stand corrected). He performed his first number sans amplification to shut a back table cadre of parrots up, a move that came off as more pretentious than heroic. All of this, combined with his straight-banged mop top and elfin stature, motivated me to dub him "Frodo Doucheboggins," while my friend Brad commented that Regan looks like "the spit and image of Peter Noone."

    Far more interesting than Regan was his warmup act, Death Vessel. Death Vessel is not a band, but rather one tiny, long-haired man named Joel Thibodeau who is to Todd Park Mohr as Mini-Me is to Dr. Evil. As Brian Barr accurately put it in last week's Short List, Thibodeau "looks like an intimidating Native American from a Western flick. But then he opens his mouth and out comes this high-pitched, little girl's voice. At first, you think it's a joke. But he never cracks a smile. He just keeps on singing like a girl."

    The stage translation is absolutely mesmerizing, as much for the "what the fuck?" factor as for the haunting quality of Thibodeau's spare, acoustic melodies. Frankly, I'm still not entirely convinced Thibodeau doesn't lip-sync over a vocal track that plays in time with his picking and strumming. (SW freelance photographer 'Lil Scoop is absolutely convinced that this is the case.) Whether or not you're willing to give Thibodeau the benefit of the doubt here -- and we will, for now -- is almost insignificant; Death Vessel's allure is undeniable. He should be recruited to score David Lynch's next film, and quick.

    Reporter's Notebook
    Personal Bias:
    Everything British is generally overrated, including (and especially) the Beatles.
    Random Detail: Before the show, my companions and I enjoyed a drink called a "Yohito" across the street at Thaiku. This is like a mojito, except infused with the African herb yohimbe, which is a known aphrodisiac that also has a tendency to function like speed or mushrooms if consumed in larger quantities (Thaiku has a one-drink limit on any of their yohimbe-infused offerings). My pal Jake, who lives and works in downtown Ballard and plays keys in my brother's band, once had five yohimbe cocktails in one sitting, and describes the experience thusly: ""As far as I can remember, after 2-1/2 the crack kicked in and everybody started speed talking.  2-1/2 more and we bailed feeling amazingly clear-headed.  Got home and had my own personal Ellen Burstyn/Requim for a Dream experience where I just wanted to do EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW.  I was pacing the rooms, sitting down for 2 seconds to relax and watch TV then jumping up and speed walking around the house again. Hangover was a 9.2."

     
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