Mike Doughty and the Question Jar Show

A few days ago I looked at my old friend’s website searching out when he was coming to town. Mike’s next closest show was in Annapolis at the Ram’s Head and it was in a few days. Awesomely (for him) it was sold out. In fact most of his shows are sold out on this tour! But not so awesome for me for getting in to the show. But I contacted him and luckily he got me in. Yay!

I didn’t know what to expect. I sort of feel like Annapolis is in the middle of nowhere, but this venue was totally great. I am really getting in to venues with chairs and tables. Maybe it’s because I am getting old. So I didn’t know if this was a band show, solo or what it would be. I certainly liked the idea of not knowing what to expect. It turned out it was just him and his friend Scrap on cello and guitar. Scrap would also pull the questions from the jar and ask them between songs. And from time to time Scrap would filter them. He received questions ranging from “Will you play my wedding?” to “Who would win in a fight: a ninja, a zombie or a pirate?” to “Will you play Mr. Bitterness?”. Needless to say, it was quiet entertaining and it didn’t get old at all.

Everything after Skittish that Mike would put out, I resented. I felt like I was being cheated. I felt it was too stripped down and not enough like Soul Coughing. After many years of trying to forget about it, I finally realized that it took guts. Big guts. Large intestines and lungs and what not. It was unavoidable. It was so easy for this man to write an album that sounded just like Soul Coughing’s 4th record. But he didn’t. He didn’t make another Radiohead record. He didn’t play it safe like it seems Radiohead and other bands have been doing for years now. And one has to respect when a band or musician tries to grow and challenge and tries to break the mold. And one can’t not forget he simply writes great songs.

Some of the highlights of the show were: Unsingable Name, Grey Ghost (which I learned was about Jeff Buckley from one of the jar questions and after hearing it performed live I realized that part of the chorus was sort of taken from the Soul Coughing song that never was, called Don’t Wreck the Car – a song which I loved hearing live) 27 Jennifers, Looks, The Only Answer, Thank You Lord For Sending Me The F Train. Not to mention hearing Is Chicago and Janine for the first time in a long while. If given the chance, I would loved to have heard No Peace Los Angeles. Oh and highlights also were with Scrap. He was an incredible cello player not to mention a great guitarist and was highly charismatic.

I haven’t seen Mike since 2000 and I am now kicking myself for not seeing any of the shows that came through DC since then. I know most of the shows are now sold out for the rest of his tour. But if you get the chance, do yourself a favor. One can’t deny the power of Mike’s impeccable sense of rhythm. It’s a pretty interesting show and his songs are great. Not to mention you 2.5 hours of it

And no, he didn’t play Mr. Bitterness.

You can buy Mike Doughty’s music here. And be on the lookout for his next full-length record called Golden Delicious due out February 19, 2008. And a tour is in store.

And here are some photos which had horribly dim lighting and since flashes weren’t allowed I had to use 3200 iso which lead to mad grain.

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5 Responses to “Mike Doughty and the Question Jar Show”


  • Oh man.. is this what you e-mailed me about yesterday? Last month i had looked into getting tickets for this show and I realized I wouldn’t have the time with this damn class I”ve been taking hah. I’m jealous. I’ve loved just about every show I”ve seen him at so far.

    My favorite though was seeing him at the Recher in Towson, when he was touring with a band (that I believe scrap was a part of), because half the show was with the band and the other half was the solo shows that I’d grown to love going to.

  • I’m glad you are cool with him again… Wow, “Is Chicago”? A few years back he said that was off the table *forever*…due to the first line of the lyrics.

    I plan on requesting “I’m Living On Babyfood.” 🙂

  • Dang. I would have liked to see Janine. Damn work. Damn, damn, damn.

  • I’ve been lucky enough to see Doughty seven or eight times solo since SC broke up, both as headliner and opening act. (It helps that he keeps touring with bands I love.) Viewed as stuff distinct from SC, his music stands up really well. Haughty Melodic has some awesome tracks. (Madeline and Nine is currently one of Lucy’s bedtime songs.)
    Ram’s Head is a just-about-perfect venue for that kind of show. I completely hear you on the “I like to sit down @ shows now” thing.

  • I missed his show here last weekend; went to see Dave Brubeck instead. I figure one of the two will probably be around a bit longer than the other, you know?

    Shows with seats are so much more pleasant nowadays. I think it’s definitely age — I just know my back is gonna be killing me after seeing Peter Bjorn & John and the Besnard Lakes in a SRO venue next week.

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