Transatlantic Doozer goodness..
Doozer McDooze fascinates me in general – he and Birdy (The Famous Artist Birdy Rose) eschew much of the trappings we succumb to in life, living like modern-day troubadours in a van working and travelling hard to fill the world with music and art. They’re lovely folk too – Doozer even wrote a song for me dedicated to my as then unborn nephew, Arlo – charting his destiny to reawaken Nottingham’s rebellious past and kick off a new generation of cheese riots. Once he is beyond toddling at least.
His music is raw, fun and generally released for a pay-what-you-think-it-is-worth on his Bandcamp page – the priority clearly being getting his music out there in recorded or gig form above and beyond trying to make a quick buck. Learning more as I do about the lot of independent musicians and artists, it’s really not a very easy industry to make money out of compared to the amount of effort it takes to organise recordings and events, not to mention the time to learn to sing and play, practice, sit and write songs.
In more recent weeks the intrepid duo crossed the Atlantic to take their show stateside – from watching their Facebook posts it looks like they’ve had an absolute blast, and a culmination of that is a live recording of Doozer’s set at Vigilstock which took place in the wonderfully named Knickerbocker Saloon in Lafayette, Indiana at the end of September. Vigilstock has been running since 1996 in memory of musician Shannon Hoon, best-known as singer for Blind Melon who tragically passed away in 1995.
Nine tracks (although the last one is two songs!) await – the recording certainly gives the live feeling with plenty of crowd noise in the background. Starting by confessing to feeling nervous, he launches into Searching which is soon greeted with whoops from the crowd – there is a bit of background chatter but it is at a level doesn’t detract from Doozer’s singing and guitar work. Dreams follows giving the set a neat autobiographical start, which is probably quite a good idea for a literally foreign audience.
The crowd are clearly engaged judging by the applause that follows, Let’s Not Forget is a new song – quite literally hot off the press, written the day before the gig, a philosophical vibe about being nice to each other and not forgetting those who’ve left us behind – that sounds alright with me! In introducing Pirate Captain he seeks reassurance as to whether or not he needs subtitles, but clearly his Essex accent is understandable in Indiana, the song is a cheery-yet-sad lament to a friend who passed away.
Not Going Back To That is a justification of the stepping outside of the system, a call to avoiding zero-hour contracts and the threat of being sacked and a reaffirmation of making his alternative approach to life work. I can’t fault that! Bimbling Man gives the opportunity for Doozer to introduce the term ‘bloke’ to the audience, telling a story of three of his former workmates… and of course, this is the song with the easiest singalong section ever – consisting of ‘Na-na na-na-na na-na-na-na-na-na’ which with a bit of tutoring was taken up with gusto by the crowd.
Festival anthem I Don’t Wanna Go Home is up next – I am guessing the lyric boards were present (referred to as a subtitle machine!) which goes down very well with the crowd, leading into the final track of Worst Business Man which starts to tell the tale of the difficulties of organising his modus operandi from a business perspective. At the end is a bonus recording comprising a medley of It’s Nice Down Here and a cover of Gaz Brookfield‘s Solo Acoustic Guy wedged into the middle – a nice way to finish! It’s well worth a buy and a listen.
In Ferocious Dog news in case you haven’t spotted it on Facebook, Ken recently contributed an interesting, informative and emotional blog piece for Big Issue North. It gives a potted history of elements of his life that have gone on to influence the band, not least his days on the picket lines and down the mines – and of course the tragic circumstances surrounding his son Lee. So if you haven’t read that yet, please take a moment to do so.