Hosting the Los Angeles stop of Tracyanne and Danny’s US Tour, The Lodge Room in Highland Park is an intimate venue. Much like fellow L.A. Venue The Moroccan Lounge, its exactly what it says on the tin. A wood paneled, former Masonic Lodge, its sound desk is contained in a high balcony at the rear of the room. Which gives the venue a beautiful and clean flow all the way to the back. After climbing the stairs however, my heart sank a little as I laid eyes upon row after row of folding chairs. Gigs are never a place where I feel like having a sit down, no matter what the pace.
After a strong opening set by support act Photo Ops, which was universally well received by an already busy room, Tracyanne and Danny took to the stage. When writing about this duo in the past, I’ve used the term collaboration. However, I think I’ll revise that adjective to Double Act. They even looked the part. With Danny Cauglan’s tall frame, playing the straight man to Tracyanne Campbell’s comic foil. Their set was laced with humor and anecdotes that were effortless and borne of a natural chemistry. It reminded me of seeing John Cooper Clarke, where I’d happily pay the cover charge to listen to the inter-set banter alone, let alone the performance.
But the performance was strong as an ox. The first time I have seen them both live as a duo, Danny’s vocals sounded much stronger and commanding in this cozy live setting than I felt on the record. Shorn of a full band, the pair accompanied themselves with MIDI samples. Which in no way diminished the sound and lead to a great comedic moment as the pair riffed Barry Manilow and George Michael over their drum samples.
The crowd was quiet but intensely engaged with very few neutrals in the room. But a huge reception went up for Alabama and the room steadily became more vocal. With only one record in their catalogue, the set was obviously not going to be protracted. Tracyanne making a half-joking confession that their storytelling was to ensure they met their stage time contractual obligations. However, the inclusion of a cover of Daniel Johnson’s True Love Will Find You In The End was a perfect addition to the set.
Closing with a wonderful story of one of Danny’s ex-girlfriends and a sharpie moustache, together with running out a new song. The debut of Denon demonstrates this duo is still busy writing great songs together. Giving us all hope for another Long Player soon. A true feel-good inducing gig by two truly talented and entertaining performers, it’s worth a gargantuan effort to see them anywhere you can on the rest of this tour.