Badly Drawn Boy

Devon Powers

1 May 2001: Irving Plaza - New York.

Badly Drawn Boy

Badly Drawn Boy

City: New York
Venue: Irving Plaza
Date: 2001-05-01

You could call Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy, the British indie equivalent of the Little Engine That Could. After trucking along for years with a critical cheering section, a small but loyal fan base, and an unflappable will, Damon's surge to stardom with The Hour of the Bewilderbeast likens the feel-good triumph of the underdog at the climax of a movie. It's the kind of story that ought to make his mama proud. And that self-satisfaction was omnipresent from the moment Badly Drawn Boy took the stage, accompanied by the theme from Rocky. The show he played was one of a champ who was ready to knock you out, as he took plenty of time to wow his spectators with old material, singles, and B-sides, not to mention his sharp tongue, silly props and clever gags. But he also was the Damon Gough we've come to know and love, still working a modest manner that can't help but solicit loving coos. It's as if no one has ever shared with him the aloof, faux-intimate air that most musicians affect when they're on stage. He played his elegant, keyboard-heavy numbers while sharing stories of desperation from the early days. He grounded his Gap-i-fied single, "The Shining", in its emotional roots by allowing the crowd to fawn over a picture of his five-month old daughter, Edie. He showed his frustration over flubbed lyrics, bad sound, and less-than perfect execution. He braved the region of stage beyond the lights, giving a fuck you to mores that limit audience/performer interactions to a stage-ege gropes by walking down into the welcoming sea of fans. Regardless of where you were in the arena that fit thousands, you felt one with him; and it seemed as though he he felt you, too, as a distinct, important vivid. The simple beauty of Badly Drawn Boy's set, over two and a half hours in length, showed that fame doesn't have to go to one's head. And surely, when it's deserved and diligently earned, it does just the opposite -- it goes straight to the heart.




Love in the Time of Coronavirus

I Went on a Jewel Bender in Quarantine. This Is My Report.

It's 2020 and everything sucks right now, so let's all fucking chill and listen to Jewel.


Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

By the Book

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.


Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold Celebrate New Album With Performance Video (premiere)

Mark Olson (The Jayhawks) and Ingunn Ringvold share a 20-minute performance video that highlights their new album, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation. "This was an opportunity to perform the new songs and pretend in a way that we were still going on tour because we had been so looking forward to that."


David Grubbs and Taku Unami Collaborate on the Downright Riveting 'Comet Meta'

Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.


On Their 2003 Self-Titled Album, Buzzcocks Donned a Harder Sound and Wore it With Style and Taste

Buzzcocks, the band's fourth album since their return to touring in 1989, changed their sound but retained what made them great in the first place

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.


Country's Jaime Wyatt Gets in Touch With Herself on 'Neon Cross'

Neon Cross is country artist Jaime Wyatt's way of getting in touch with all the emotions she's been going through. But more specifically, it's about accepting both the past and the present and moving on with pride.


Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.


Sondre Lerche and the Art of Radical Sincerity

"It feels strange to say it", says Norwegian pop artist Sondre Lerche about his ninth studio album, "but this is the perfect time for Patience. I wanted this to be something meaningful in the middle of all that's going on."


How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.