Tag Archives: Danko Jones

Album of week 34: Born a Lion

Except at the office, where I’m not allowed to, I love playing music most of my spare time. perhaps it’s to exhausting for many, but I love performing activities with a little support from an album. When I have guests at the Hellhouse I usually pass the choice of the soundtrack to them, of course if I trust their taste in music, feeling very curious about what they will select. Sometimes it can be very predictable, but in many cases I feel really amused and pleased when they removed the dust from one of my old CDs or records I haven’t listened to in years, and all of a sudden lots of memories, melodies and lyrics come back to my head and I recover some sort of excitement remembering how great that album and that certain band was back in the day.

Last Saturday, Tani, Jaume and I were recovering from the funny night before, and I was in the mood for cooking if Jaume to be in charge of music. He accepted the challenge and also bough beer. His first choice was Kick of INXS and it was great to listen to so many hits at once. Eventually I’ll talk about that album, because it’s pretty good. He completely changed the style with his second choice, which was Born a Lion.

born a lion

I’ve been so pissed off lately with Danko Jones due to his terrible and boring shows, with too much talking and quite few music, I had forgotten how great he used to be. Well, not that his late albums are crap, because you can always find a bunch of great songs, but the groove, power and sexuality in his early stuff was unbeatable.

I had vaguely heard of this trio from Canada formed by Danko, John Calabrese and Damon Richardson, the former drummer who played on the best albums of the band, until I saw them opening for Backyard Babies in 2001 I think. Basically they ate the Swedish band with a steamroller act which turned the audience crazy. The recipient for the success of their act was powerful and sticky rock n’roll songs, mixed with blues and garage, sexual lyrics and Danko’s speeches to heat people. The magnetism of the frontman was irresistible and everybody ended surrendered to his knees. He was a sort of preacher of rock.

The Mango Kid used to be the king on stage when performing sets of 45 minutes, but at some point, when the band became more popular and started headlining 85 minute shows, his speeches became repetitive, the rhythm of the performance was losing tempo all the time because between songs there was too much spoken word, and of course, the albums weren’t as brilliant and fresh as the first ones. It is a pity because the band has its own identity regardless of their influences, but Danko squeezed the lemon too much, and the band is a bit stuck in its old formula.

Thus recovering Born a Lion the other day was as exciting as to time travel 12-13 years back, remember all the funny lyrics, Danko’s tongue and mean attitude on stage, and we getting crazy with their songs. ‘Love is Unkind’, ‘Lovercall’, ‘Sound of Love’, ‘Papa’, ‘Play the Blues’…one hit after another. I used to love this album, and for me, the concept of power trio was expressed in these 3 guys to its maximum level.

I still hope The Mango Kid forgets about horchata and comes back to the right path to give us a lesson.

THE NIGHT THE MANGO KID DRUNK TOO MUCH HORCHATA

When thinking of the show a tough sentence I heard not so long comes to my mind: what attracts you in the beginning, will disgust you in the end.

Too hard statement, but somehow it can reflect the contradictory feelings I got from Danko Jones’ show last night.

It had been 3 years since I hadn’t see Mr. Horchata on stage, at Azkena Rock Festival.

His, used to be reckless and powerful shows, full of energy and aggressiveness. 40 minute sets, putting audience on their knees. He was the guy opening for bands, which ended up being the real hero of the night.

It’s not that the Mango Kid is not aggressive anymore, but seems unsuitable for headlining accomplishing a performance of more than an hour without breaking the rhythm of the gig every two songs to make jokes and chat with people, repeating same speeches once and once again. Thus, you don’t feel totally involved in the gig, and end up thinking “shut up and play once and for all”. Believe me if I tell you some people yelled him to keep on playing. It happened.

Stops were killing the show. Even you could notice the audience eventually getting distracted, tired and chaos reigning at Apolo. We all started the show super excited, but many of us were thinking it should end before wasting time doing silly. It was really a pity, and I don’t feel good when saying this, but was even intolerable. There are other solutions in case you can’t accomplish a 75 minute show, as for instance, let the supporting band, The Biters, extend their show, or get another supporting band.

Another issue was the set list. It is true that mine can be a more subjective opinion, because I was more into his 3 first albums and ep’s, but considering he visited us one year ago supporting his last album, the selection of songs could be more varied. It’s like all of a sudden, those first hits were forbidden or forgotten, so we missed I Love Living in the City, Mango Kid, Sticky Situation, Love is Unkind… band’s anthems which shouldn’t have been dismissed. Instead we got Rock Shit Hot, Caramel City, Invisible, Dr. Evening, and Lovercall among others.

Style has changed lots, so has the audience, very young to my surprise. While riffs were more metal, songs were more melodic, not so rapping lyrics. The band sounded very strong and solid, and the drummer, Jeeez! He was a machine.

There were some songs introduced by other bands intros, Minus Celsius by Backyard Babies, and A Song for the Dead by QOTSA, and a too long opening medley jam with hits by Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and even Kiss. I was watching the show with my friend Jaume, who was getting increasingly nervous and upset. It was like, you wanna play a cover? Do it, no problem at all, but in such way, didn’t make much sense.

A cover by The Supremes, My love Is Empty Without You, to close the show after 20 minute encore of squeezing the horchata joke, was enough. I don’t think I’ll repeat another of his shows in very long time. Disappointed was my state at the end of the night.