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Dan Mangan at Algonquin Commons Theatre. Photo: Marc Lepage.

Review and gig photos: Dan Mangan with Georgia Harmer at Algonquin Commons

By Marc Lepage on August 8, 2022




Friday night, Dan Mangan made his much-awaited return to Algonquin Commons Theatre. His last show was in early 2019, and last night’s show had been rescheduled at least once, so fans had been waiting a while, which seems to be the common theme for most post-COVID concerts these days.

The show’s opener was Georgia Harmer, whose gorgeous voice and delicate arrangements impressed the early crowd. In between songs, her sense of humour was apparent as she joked about having her album on CD for sale in the lobby, a music format she laughingly said she did not particularly enjoy herself. Unfortunately, her set was cut short when she had to leave the stage, which turned out to be due to complications from an earlier migraine headache.

When Dan Mangan took the stage, the first thing he did was assure the crowd that Georgia was just fine, and being taken care of backstage, which drew loud supportive applause.

Mangan, backed by an outstanding three-piece band, played a set of old songs as well as newer material. Aside from the incredible catalogue of songs he has to pull a setlist from, one of the best things about seeing Dan Mangan live is the witty banter and anecdotes between songs. The set was dynamic—at times loud and rambunctious, and then moments later whisper-quiet, save for the sound of his voice and acoustic guitar. The audience sang along during fan favourites such as “Fool for Waiting” and “Robots.” At one point, he introduced the next song by saying that it had been requested by Kevin (who then hollered), who had messaged him on social media, saying he wouldn’t attend the show unless he agreed to play it. Another fan then shouted, “What is it Kevin?” before Mangan proceeded with “You Silly Git”.

The two newest songs of the night were “Fire Escape,” written during the height of the pandemic, and “In Your Corner,” which was written for Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit, who struggled with depression and committed suicide in 2018.

The night closed with an encore of “Basket” and “So Much For Everyone,” where Mangan positioned himself in the middle of the crowd, in relative darkness, lit only by a large glowing orb, guiding the audience to form the backing vocals of the song, as he layered the rest of the vocals on top. It was a fittingly beautiful end to an incredible show.