There's a special circle of hell reserved for people who go to concerts and talk over the music. As annoying as the yakkers can be, though, you have to feel kind of sorry for them. For when these oblivious souls take up their much-deserved positions in the inferno, they are going to have to face singer/songwriter Mike Doughty.
Wednesday, June 19, at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $15
Great American Music Hall, 859
O'Farrell (at Polk), S.F.
Unlike most Guys With Acoustic Guitars, the former Soul Coughing frontman does not suffer fools gladly. When it comes to nightclub gabbers, Doughty is pugnacious to the point of brutality, as likely to end a performance with "Shut the fuck up, bitch!" as "Thank you." God bless him.
If we should be paying attention to anyone, it's Doughty. One of pop music's most audacious wordsmiths, the raspy-voiced singer has no qualms rhyming "Baltimore" with "off-white Honda," or taking up an entire song with a stream-of-consciousness, brokenhearted story about cell phone towers.
Having ended his sojourn with Soul Coughing in 2000, Doughty has been traveling the country nonstop ever since, performing an ever-lengthening repertoire of solo material (some of which was captured on the album Skittish, recorded in 1996 but not released until 2000). Although Doughty's post-Coughing songs are stripped-down acoustic affairs, you can't call them folk music. He treats his steel-string guitar as both lyre and snare drum, drawing out soft melodies on some tunes and applying abrasive metal slaps on others. At this week's show, Doughty will most likely play old favorites from Soul Coughing and Skittish, as well as tracks from his as-yet-unfinished sophomore effort. And, if we're lucky, the singer will be provoked into spicing up his set with a little bit of crowd control, giving hell to the idiots as he offers the rest of us a little slice of heaven.
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