Dan Mangan + Reuben And The Dark
Bunk Bar, Portland, OR
6 June 2016
By: Meghan Kearney

For one of Vancouver, BC’s most loved pop-folk singer-song writers, playing a Monday evening show at a tiny sandwich shop just a few hundred miles south of home, might seem like a thing of the past. With a following that has brought Dan Mangan (+ Blacksmith) to festivals and some of the world’s most prime venues, this scenario is just as much a dream of the past for fans. But this week, a spontaneous trip with Calgary’s Reuben and the Dark brought the crew covertly up the U.S. West Coast, with a solo Dan Mangan.

Just a week before the show, a post popped up on Facebook. “After several years of being rudely scarce from your music venues, I will be returning to apologize with my buds from Reuben and the Dark.” This post alone brought us to probably one of the most special shows I’ve attended in my life.

At Portland’s Bunk Bar, a crowd of no larger than what you’d expect to see at a sandwich shop gathered around quietly as Reuben and the Dark took to the tiny stage. The intimate room and low lighting of the bar set ambiance for the soothing beautiful melodies of the five-piece. Shortly, they shy crowd began to fill the space around the stage as the band crooned through tracks, including their gorgeous new “Heart In Two” with emotion that was nearly tear-inducing.

Dan Mangan, headlining the night, then took to the stage against his mic, acoustic guitar in hand. The small crowd made the bar feel more like a private show in a room with friends, and Dan treated it as such. He opened with a duo of new tracks to be on a forthcoming EP. Accompanying each track to follow, a story of how each song came to be. The first song, “Jude,” a story of his son and how so many pieces had to come together to create the perfect tiny human. Next, he shared of his time traveling through Texas, on a never ending journey through Tornado Alley before breaking into “Road Regrets.”

Along with “Post-War Blues,” and “The Indie Queens Are Waiting” a singing crowd prompted him to call out “some folks know the old ones.” There was no shortage of direct banter and conversation with the lucky few who chose Dan to spend their Monday evening with.

About three quarters through the set, he started asking the small crowd for requests, playing through audience picks and closing the request session with “Sold.” Joking that he wouldn’t be doing any of that “leave the stage and then come back” junk – he climbed upon the small monitor in front of the stage letting the audience know we were about to do a sing-along. Practicing with us first he closed with the most heartfelt up-close-and-personal ballad anyone could dream of from the award-winning Dan Mangan.

For the 25 or so folks who caught wind of this super special show with Reuben and the Dark & Dan Mangan – a special night we won’t soon forget.