April 15, 2008
Starting his April 15 concert at Newport, Kentucky’s Southgate House with "I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep on Dancing" from the Golden Delicious recording, former Soul Coughing front man Mike Doughty had the standing room only crowd in rapt attention. A rowdy bunch, the Southgate was choking from the smoke in the air, and the side windows had to be opened to freshen up the place a bit.
Scat singing on "Put it Down" followed, and Doughty bonded with the floor’s denizens via his unique stage patter mixed with an amiable, generous personality. Breaking out some low-fi gadgetry, Doughty indulged in tape looping to his band rhythms on "More Bacon than the Pan Can Handle." Screams and requests for Soul Coughing compositions abounded, but Doughty’s act was carried on the light wings of Golden Delicious’ strong material, and the kinetic charms of standout tracks like "27 Jennifers" and "I Wrote a Song About Your Car."
His backup band, The Panderers, powered the set with a grooving swing and understated heartfelt balance. Doughty’s connecting glue lies in his raspy delivery and searing, bent and distorted lead guitar solos. And, then there are his songs that draw the listener in with an unusually gravitating allure. Just like his days with Soul Coughing, the brazen tunes often lead to sing-a-longs and improvised call and response shout fests. The highlight of the evening came near the end of the veteran rocker’s night as he launched into the radio friendly fare of "Fort Hood" from Golden Delicious. The song moved along tightly with economic instrumentation, and the Southgate’s music aficionados left the storied building with warm vibes as they filed out to view the stars in the spring night sky.