Thursday, 5 November 2015

Doozer McDooze Live @ Vigilstock

This is normally a blog about festivals I've been to but how about a review of a live recording from a festival for a change?

Well our friends Paul Short (aka Doozer McDooze) and Briady (aka Birdy) Rose are currently touring the states of Indiana, New York and Vermont following in the footsteps of a trip Birdy made some years ago. This seems to have been a quest to bring a love of tea and cider to the US while playing as many gigs as possible and hanging out with some, by all accounts awesome, people.

It all stems from a love of the US, alt-psychedelic rock band Blind Melon and their late singer Shannon Hoon, in whose memory a festival is held every autumn (or fall I guess I should say :) ). You can read Birdy's account of the festival here and it was at this festival that Doozer played a set which was recorded by Roo Ford and released as a live album available for download here.

Doozer gives his all to every performance whether he is playing to a few folk in a pub or a huge festival audience and this was no different. This is warts-and-all recording of a raw live performance and is all the better for it. You really feel like you are there with the Vigilstock crowd catching onto the infectious hooks in Doozer's songs. One Brit, one guitar, one stomp box and one bewildered audience of Americans who didn't know quite what had hit them.

The show opens with 'Searching', a number that sets the scene with typical fast guitar, strong beat and personal lyrics. 'I just wanna live a life that is always interesting and I don't wanna be bored anymore'. He follows this with another individual muse on life: 'Dreams' ('are only what you make it'). This comes complete with unscheduled mid-song tuning correction handled with consummate ease - I said this was raw!

Both of the first two tracks will be well known to Doozer fans but the next is new. Written the day before, 'Let's Not Forget' is a carpe diem song imploring us to make the most of the time we have together while remembering everyone we have lost along life's road. It neatly sets up the next number, dedicated to a very good friend of many in the UK alternative festival community who died at the beginning of the year. I never got to know Crispian but I know enough people who were close to him to understand the enormity of this loss and 'Pirate Captain' is a fitting and moving tribute.

'Not Going Back To That' is a return to autobiographical reflection. Birdy and Dooze have turned their back on crappy conventional work,+--- become a full-time musician and artist and are living in a van, living the dream. The song is about the fragility of that way of life but a determination to make it work. And if the next number is anything to go by it will. 'Bimbling Man' shows off Doozer's talent for engaging audiences. Even the most reticent of crowds will be joining in as he pulls them along with this catchiest of choruses. This is immediately followed by another sing-along classic. 'I Don't Wanna Go Home' is his theme tune. It is the sound track to many a festival and is emblazoned on a hundred t-shirts and hoodies up and down the UK.

As a man who has reportedly offered to play for cheese, penultimate track 'Worst Business Man' is an interpretation of his endearingly pants approach to the financial side of being a professional musician. The album winds up with a rough and ready thrash of 'It's Nice Down Here' neatly blended with a cover of Gaz Brookfield's 'Solo Acoustic Guy'.

This is a great Doozer performance delivered with confidence despite a crowd completely unfamiliar with his style or music. This is not a slick, auto-tuned, over-produced album but a taste of real music and real passion in a real grass-roots setting and I love it. Keep it real! 'I wanna stay like this for ever, and ever, and ever...'

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