Darren Hanlon @ the Southgate House (10/2/10)

Okay, this is how it works: Crankypants sent me a couple CDs.  I don’t like owing people, so I had to find some goodies for her.  She’s quite taken with Darren Hanlon these days, so I went down to his Southgate House show to see if I could find some Hanlon-related merchandise to even up the score.  He’s going to be playing in Philadelphia in a couple weeks, but his CDs are difficult to find in the stores.  I thought I’d grab a couple of those so Cranky could sing along at the show.  Really, who likes to wait when music is at stake?

Speaking of waiting, I got to the Southgate House and had to wait in line for awhile to get in.  You see, the Hold Steady was playing in the ballroom at the same time Darren Hanlon was scheduled to play upstairs in the parlour.  So I had to wait for a bunch of behind-the-times hipsters to get their Hold Steady tickets.  The Hold Steady?  C’mon, those guys have been treading water ever since the little dude with the mustache quit.

darren hanlon didn't make the marquee

(Darren didn’t make the marqee.)

I eventually got through the line and headed upstairs to the parlour.  A local singer was performing when I got there, but I saw Darren Hanlon over on the side sitting behind a tiny table with a few CDs and a laptop laid out in front of him.  I went over to him, explained the situation with Crankypants, and selected a few CDs for purchase.  He seemed a bit nonplussed that someone would want to buy so much stuff before he even took the stage.  I told him he’d better be good.  He said “Cheers!” after our transaction and I just wanted to pinch his cheek it sounded so cute in his Australian accent.  I think that was the first time a native-speaker has ever said “Cheers!” to me.  I usually get it from Americans who spent a week getting drunk in London during their junior year study abroad program.

But anyway, I wrapped things up by reminding Darren to look out for Crankypants in a couple weeks:

If a crazy lady tries to kidnap you in Philadelphia, you’ll know it’s her!

We laughed over that for a bit and I made my way from the merch table.  I took my newly-acquired Darren Hanlon musical stash out to the car and made it back in time to see him climb the parlour’s three inch-high stage about twenty minutes later.

Okay, here’s where I confess that I’d only heard a couple of Darren Hanlon’s songs before the concert.  I’d seen the videos for “All These Things” and “Electric Skeleton” earlier in the day, but that was about it.  I don’t usually care for live performances of songs I’m not familiar with, but Darren was great live.  He played a 45 minute set full of nine songs with brief comical asides between the songs.  It was good stuff all around…except maybe for the song about squash, which was only okay.

Darren started off the night with an old single called “A to Z”.  He then played “Electric Skeleton” and I breathed a sigh of relief that I’d be familiar with at least one song from his set.  The next song was originally by Darren’s old band, the Simpletons.  It was about Laurel & Hardy, but I can’t find its proper title anywhere.  I hope to find the title (and the song) sometime soon, as it was a sad song about comedians; I like that kind of thing.  The next song also proved troublesome title-wise.  It was about public transportation problems in Oregon, but I couldn’t find a reliable title for it online.  It appears to be brand new.

Just when I was starting to think that Darren Hanlon might be too clever for his own good, he surprised me with a song called “Scenes From a Separation” off his new Yep Roc album, I Will Love You At All.  I’d have to hear it a couple more times to decide, but this song made me think Darren Hanlon might be the Australian pop version of Bob Dylan.  It was definitely one of the highlights of the night for me.

An entirely different kind of highlight came next with a song called “Couch Surfing”.  If I’d closed my eyes while he was singing, I would’ve sworn I was at a Lucksmiths show.  I’ll never get to see an actual Lucksmiths show, so I tried to savor the moment.  Darren then switched gears again and played the current single and internet video sensation, “All These Things”.  Yes, he played “All These Things” despite the fact that the recorded version of the song is a male/female duet.  Darren just sang both parts.  He didn’t try singing in a female voice, though.  Thank goodness.

Although he reminded me of the Lucksmiths and Bob Dylan at different points during the night, I think Darren Hanlon has his own little quirky thing going on.  It’s not the kind of quirky that makes me want to punch him, though.  It’s more the kind that makes me want to buy him a beer.  I didn’t do that, of course.  Darren wrapped things up with the unfortunate song about squash and then a beautiful one called “Folk Insomnia” that more than made up for it.  I got out of there a few minutes later.  I didn’t stick around for beers or the headliner…some guy named David something.

Here’s the setlist I kept during the show.  With the exception of the two songs mentioned above, all the other titles are accurate and complete:

Setlist: A to Z/Electric Skeleton/”Laurel & Hardy” (the Simpletons)/I Waited For the 17/Scenes From a Separation/Couch Surfing/All These Things/(There’s Not Enough Songs About) Squash/Folk Insomnia

I didn’t take any pictures in the parlour, but here’s a picture of the sadly lacking marquee and a scan of my hand-written setlist.  I thought about including a picture of my purchases all laid out on my bed, but I think I’d rather surprise Cranky.

darren hanlon setlist

(Darren Hanlon setlist notes)

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24 Responses to Darren Hanlon @ the Southgate House (10/2/10)

  1. crankypants says:

    Yay! I have been waiting since last night for this, thanks! Oh god I hope he doesn’t have bodyguards in Philly, is he as small as you thought? I just posted about Folk Insomnia today, linked to a video from Triple J. My friend in Portland reviewed the album on his site and he also thought Scenes was a standout (I have 2 versions, actually, thanks to Yep Roc) but my favorites are Modern History, All These Things, and House. (not about the tv show or the character from it). There is also one called Home about drifting back to his hometown, it’s all very mellow and folky and he nonchalantly goes into, “but my face had an appointment to keep with the fist of some young freak and that is why I wear this scar beneath my eye”
    anyway….I don’t know most of these songs, but hopefully I’ll hear some new ones before he gets here. yay yay!
    dang I want to see all your loot! mine too! thanks in advance.

    • homebody says:

      Cranky, you should totally invite him to couchsurf!

    • M-----l says:

      Sorry I didn’t get it up sooner. It took me three times as long to write this as it did for Darren Hanlon to play his entire show. It’s probably because I went into more detail than usual and had some trouble with the setlist. Oh, and I suck at writing.

      So your show is coming up on the 19th, right? Do you know if he’s opening for someone or if he’s on his own or what? A 45 minute show was just about right for me, but I hope you get a longer performance with more songs. I’ll try to get your goodies out in the mail tomorrow. Keep an eye on the mailbox!

      Thanks for poking me with a stick and making me go to this show. I’m really glad I went.

      • crankypants says:

        It is on the 19th and he’s opening for someone I think named Matt Green or something. He may be local & it’s a CD release show. And as I said in my article titled “shitballs” (which you may or may not have read word for word…) it’s also the same night as the 2nd round playoff game we have tickets for. But I choose Darren. Australia’s a long drive, mate.

        I’m glad you enjoyed it. I figured you would, based on his connection to the Lucksmiths and your taste for music of that sort.

        Last.fm has a bunch of Simpletons songs but I didn’t see any titles that looked obviously like they would be about Laurel & Hardy.

        I mentioned to my friend who lives in Lexington that he was going to be there but I dunno if he had any intention of going.

        Oh the Reds and the Phils are playing each other in the first round. Sorry you guys won’t live to see round two, that’s a shame.

        • M-----l says:

          I feel I should mention to you that Darren Hanlon dedicated one of the songs to a couple who invited him to their home for dinner. They looked kind of weird, so I’m guessing he’d probably accept a meal from you if you asked (you being relatively normal). Here’s a hint: he likes sweet potatoes.

          Of course, I may have ruined your dinner chances by referring to you as a “crazy lady”. Sorry about that. In retrospect, it wasn’t my best idea. I never know what’s going to come out of my mouth when I chat up musicians.

          And now on to baseball…

          I remember “shitballs” but I had trouble following all the ins & outs. Having playoff tickets seems complicated. I’m almost glad I don’t have any.

          And don’t you get cocky with the Phillies. One of the things I like about baseball (as opposed to football) is that any team can beat any other team on any given day. I really wish some of your pitchers would get a week-long stomach virus, though. That would help.

          • crankypants says:

            I know, I know, I was being tongue in cheek cocky because it was the Reds, but I am a bit nervous about them and Joey Votto’s bat. I had this horrible vision of a bunch of homers and a really flat start. But I think it will be a good series, anyway. I’m just so sick of seeing the Braves and that stupid fricking tomahawk chop, so I was torn about rooting for seeing them in the first round.

            Hm, maybe Darren would be a willing kidnapee if I said, I’m going to kidnap you and feed you Sweet Potato fries! (I have some in my freezer) But I’m going to have to leave there and rush home to catch the rest of the game. He can make himself some fries in my toaster oven and sing to Elvis while they’re cooking.
            I just watched the bus song video, that was pretty good. okay, time to get off the computer and read for a bit. I have 2 whole days of reading and movie watching before the playoffs start, and the game on wednesday starts at 5:07!!

  2. homebody says:

    Yay! A public transit song!

  3. crankypants says:

    ha…my email is “stuft17@…” so he will have to look out for the #17.

  4. phantomxii says:

    I see the Tommy-gun dude on the sign seems all pissed off at David Dondero.

    Now I wish I’d turned out for the show. I’d listened to a couple of songs after seeing your post yesterday, and I thought he sounded pretty good. But I was afraid it was going to be another of those stay-up-until-one-in-the-morning-waiting-for-all-the-acts-to-finish things like the last show I went to. I didn’t realize it’d be a more intimate (and short) gig upstairs. Oh well.

    • M-----l says:

      I like to think that Tommy is pointing his gun at the Hold Steady, but that’s just me. I hate them…unless I’m drunk, of course. They sound awesome when I’ve had a few.

      It’s too bad you didn’t go. We could’ve had fun and you probably could’ve gotten home by 11:30. I was home trying to figure out the setlist by a little after 11:00. If there’s ever a SGH show you’re on the bubble about and would like a concert companion, just let me know. I love the place and am always looking for reasons to leave the house.

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  6. silverchimes says:

    I just watched the “All These Things” video again. Cranky has it right. He looks like Russell Crowe’s nerdy little brother.

    Cranky pointed out his song “Happiness is a Chemical” for my science playlist. I think it’s a great song. Too bad he didn’t play that one.

    • M-----l says:

      I haven’t heard that song yet. I don’t know if it’s on anything I bought last night. I’ll have to check. If it’s not, I might grab it on eMusic. My membership turned over a couple days ago and I’ve been waiting to use them in case there was something Hanlon-related I wanted that he didn’t have for sale at the show. They’ve got two of the Simpletons CDs there. I might get those and see if I can find that elusive Laurel & Hardy song.

      Or I might do something completely different. I really need more than 24 songs per month.

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