Last Friday I took in the NXNE
slate at Lee's Palace. The lineup was great; I finally got to see Luke Doucet
play, for one thing. (I have been hearing the legend of Luke Doucet for years, mostly from female friends and mostly concerning what a cutie he is. Alison calls him the Two-Bite Brownie.) Really liked his set. (Most memorable Doucet line: "It takes a uniquely fucked-up man to break his own heart.") Longtime readers of squiddity, however, will be unsurprised to learn that I was most excited about seeing Mike Doughty
, who was the closing act.
Mo and Andy and I were stationed behind the soundboard, which gave us an excellent view both of the stage and of the sound guys running around like freaked-out squirrels at the start of Mike's set. Apparently "the keyboard was dirty." It still looked and sounded like a terrific set to us, energetic and spontaneous.
Mo asked me if I'd ever met or e-mailed Mike and I said no, and he suggested that since I have all the guy's CDs and read his blog regularly I ought to hang out by the stage door and say Hi after the show. This seemed inarguably reasonable, so we stayed after the set ended and the bar cleared out, watching the instruments being put away in big cases with wheels (see picture). I have never in my life waited at a stage door to talk to anybody, and the situation felt weird to me. I'm uncomfortable with the whole Fan Thing, I can like someone's work a whole lot without feeling the need to pester the person who made it. Mo, meanwhile, used to work as a music writer in Montreal, has spent an inordinate amount of time backstage, was unfazed by the whole thing, and amused me with an anecdote about the time his date ditched him for the keyboard player from Counting Crows.
The drummer, Pete, emerged from backstage & I was all "Oh I don't think we should bug Pete I mean I'm sure he's a busy man & he's probably tired" but Mo went over & congratulated him on an excellent set, which was of course the sensible thing to do. Talking to Pete, we were amazed to learn that the main keyboard, around which the act was based, had actually broken
at the beginning of the set, and much of the show had in fact been ad-libbed with auxiliary keyboards.
Eventually Mike emerged, looking understandably tired & wearing a sweater. By this point a wave of regressive adolescent-type awkwardness had left me almost completely verbally incapacitated, so it was a good thing Mo was there to, like, form sentences
. Mike had the weary but sincere graciousness of someone who had done this on a nightly basis for years and years, shaking hands and letting people have their pictures taken with him. (I got a picture but I'm not going to post it, because I look lens-shatteringly hideous in it.) He was a bigger guy than I'd realized, a head taller than me. He had had a rough night and done a fantastic job in spite of everything, and I was so discombobulated I forgot to wish him a happy birthday, even though it was, in fact, his birthday.
In conclusion, I probably won't do the stage-door thing again, having determined that I turn into a complete dork in that situation, but it did seem like the kind of thing you have to do once. Also: You want Mike's CDs
. Yes you do.