Before I saw something about the show, let me talk about the venue.
There’s a doorfront on Mississippi Ave for the place, but that’s not where you enter. Instead, you go in through Mississippi Station (a bar/pub next door), pass through the restaurant, out the back doors to the outside patio, keep going, then bear left into… what looks like someone’s backyard. Up the stairs to the house, and go on in. Sure enough, the place is a converted home that sits fewer than 100 people. (Okay, I confess to being anal enough that I counted. 79 seats.) In such a small space, it seems silly to talk about a balcony, but there is a section of seating towards the back that is elevated just barely above the heads of the people ahead, and I found a pair of seats on the front row of that platform. I’ve seen Doughty in clubs of over 1000, and in this show, it was like he was hanging out in the living room with me. This place just become my favorite Portland venue. If there’s someone I’m even mildly interested seeing that is playing at MS, I’m so there.
As for the show itself: I’ve seen Mike play smaller two man shows, and larger shows where he has a full band behind him. I prefer the smaller gigs, hands down. I just prefer the simpler, sparser sound when it’s just Doughty and his guitar, maybe with one side man. Given that, last night’s show made me really happy. He had one other musician with him, a fellow named Scrap Livingston playing cello and resonator guitar. (I had to do some digging on Google and Wikipedia to find the name of this. I hope I got it right. It looks like a standard guitar, except for the large, round metal platter on the body of the guitar, which gives it a sound a bit like a banjo.)
Mike and Scrap performed a great mix of audience favorites and some new songs from his forthcoming album, “Golden Delicious”. Off-hand, I recall them playing 27 Jennifers, White Lexus, Busting Up a Starbucks, Grey Ghost, Janine, Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well, Madeline and Nine, Rising Sign, Sunken-Eyed Girl, Thank You Lord For Sending Me The F Train, Tremendous Brunettes, True Dreams Of Wichita, Unsingable Name. In between songs, mike and Scrap drew questions from the Question Jar, answering queries from the audience. We learned what the “Unsingable Name” was, which albums changed MD’s life, his perspective on his past drug use, his recent experience on morning drive-time radio shows, his thoughts about our fair city, and much more.
All in all, it was a hell of a show, maybe the best I’ve seen in Portland (and I’ve seen some real winners)! A big, enthusiastic “Hell yeah!”