First was Mumford & Sons, the second, Foster The People, and today was the third Secret Show put on by 100.5 The Peak, with the location of the show only being announced two hours before the show began at 1pm. And with a local favourite like Dan Mangan -- who played The Peak's launch party almost three years ago -- playing a free show, you know it was going to be big. The previous secret shows had both been pretty short; less than a half dozen songs from the bands and lasting about half an hour. But as Dan said at about the half hour mark, they had all their stuff out, they might as well play longer. And who would have stopped him?
Joined by Gordon Grdina on guitar, Kenton Loewen on drums and Colin Cowan on bass, they started off with "About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All" from the new album, Oh Fortune, followed by what has quickly become one of my favourite Mangan songs, "Post-War Blues", building to an insane ending. As well as the new stuff, he threw in a few old ones, with people to clapping along to "Sold" and even taking requests when mid-way through the set he admitted they had no set list. People asked for the heartwrenching "Basket" and "Road Regrets", which he almost couldn't play until a capo magically appeared from the crowd to save the day. There was also song string-breaking action from Grdina on "Rows of Houses" which segued perfectly into "Regarding Death and Dying".
Dan thanked The Peak and everyone that supported local independent music before ending it the way we all knew he would, with "Robots", bringing some (familiar) robots on stage to dance, and with everyone in the packed plaza singing and clapping along. (See a sub-par quality recording of Robots taken on my phone right here.)
I had expected it to be a fun show, but it even surpassed my expectations, and of the three secret shows, this was by far my favourite. But if anyone can pull off a show to top it for the next one, it's The Peak.
About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All; Post-War Blues; Oh Fortune; Sold; Leaves, Trees, Forest; Some People; Rows of Houses; Regarding Death and Dying; Basket; Road Regrets; Starts With Them, Ends With Us; Robots.