Dan Mangan Returns Home For An Unforgettable Performance

Dan Mangan at The Vogue Theatre, 2/12/19

Dan Mangan
Photo by Mariko Margetson

The snow was relentless Tuesday night but that did not stop fans from braving the trek downtown to witness Vancouver’s most beloved indie-rocker Dan Mangan.

More than 1000 pairs of wet feet crowded into the sold-out Vogue Theatre for Mangan’s first homecoming show since 2015.

After a few years out of the spotlight to spend time at home with his wife and two young boys, Mangan returned to the road last month for his first Canadian tour in four years – we spoke with him at the beginning of the tour.

Mangan been making his way west, and Tuesday saw him arrive back in the city he calls home for a show that fans won’t soon forget.

Dan Mangan
Photo by Mariko Margetson

Joining him for the western leg of the tour was Montreal’s Ariel Engle, performing under the name La Force. The newest member of the Toronto musical collective Broken Social Scene released her eponymous debut in the fall and helped warm the crowd up with a taste of some of the majestic melodies the album has to offer.

Engle wore a brilliant white gown that gave her an angelic appearance under the spotlights. Her vibrant yet soothing vocals grabbed the attention and the box-shaped guitar she played during part of the set was unlike any guitar you’ve ever seen.

After, Mangan took to the stage, inciting uproars of applause from the eager audience. For this tour Mangan enlisted a whole new band to support him. Joining him on stage were three wonderfully talented Canadian musicians; Don Kerr on the drums, Mike O’Brien on bass, and Jason Haberman on guitar and keys.

The set began with a walking bass from O’Brien, leading into the opening track off Mangan’s latest, “Lynchpin.” Fans were gifted with other greats off his latest during the first part of the set. “Cold In The Summer” showed a fantastic display of backing vocals from the band and “Lay Low” was easy to get lost in.

Dan Mangan
Photo by Mariko Margetson

“There were moments in 2015 where I legitimately wondered if I had any more songs in me to write. There was a lot reaching to get to this … well, honestly, this moment right here,” Mangan told the crowd. 

These words shook the entire audience into a massive applause which nearly brought the singer to tears.

“Where was I?” he said after gaining his composure.

Mangan went on to speak of his frustration trying to get all the pieces together to make his latest album More or Less.

“This song I wrote just a week or two before we went into the studio in Los Angeles, and I can’t imagine this album without it.”

The song was “Which Is It,” one the most fragile and darkest tracks from the artist, and it was a shock to see this song brought to the stage.

The haunting mood was quickly eased as Mangan moved into “Race to the Bottom,” a favourite from his 2016 Unmake EP and a furiously driven alternative track compared to most of his work.

Dan Mangan
Photo by Mariko Margetson

The crowd was happy to hear old gems from his breakout release Nice, Nice, Very Nice, like “Road Regrets,” “Pine For Cedars,” and “Basket.”

Off his latest, “Fool For Waiting” was an absolutely touching performance and arguably the highlight of the set. It was followed by the radio-friendly “Troubled Mind” which many fans were eager to hear.

Finishing off the pre-encore set, the band put on a full-fledged performance of the ever-loveable “Sold,” bringing out a horn section and getting the help of the crowd for the backing vocals.

As for the encore, you guessed it, “Robots” rocked The Vogue and was every bit as amazing as you’d imagine, all these years later.

But Mangan had one more song left in him, and it was a special one. “So Much For Everyone” had Mangan stand on a chair in the middle of the crowd for one final and beautiful send off, uniting everyone in The Vogue for that moment.

Dan Mangan
Photo by Mariko Margetson