The Extra Lens (John Darnielle & Franklin Bruno) and John Vanderslice at the Mercury Lounge

John Darnielle makes a point at The Mercury Lounge on Oct. 21, 2010. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Dan Mangan played, too

Once again, we missed Dan Mangan. The up-and-coming Canadian singer-songwriter opened the John Vanderslice-The Extra Lens early show at The Mercury Lounge on Thursday night, Oct. 21. But we arrived too late to hear him. This is the second or third show we’ve attended recently where Mangan finished his set before we arrived.

The Extra Lens

Luckily, though, we still got to talk to Dan Mangan. Well, the other Dan Mangan, who’s not a singer-songwriter at all (at least as far as we know), but a writer for the New York Post.

But there was little time to waste, as John Vanderslice had already taken the stage. Vanderslice did an all-too-short set of song from all parts of his fictional storytelling repertoire, charming the audience but failing to pass any baked goods or announce a dance party location. (When he headlines, Vanderslice typically has some form of home baked goods to distribute to the crowd and follows his set with a DJ dance party.)

The highlight of the evening was The Extra Lens (former The Extra Glenns), a band that sounds an awful lot like The Mountain Goats — mostly because the Goats’ frontman, John Darnielle, is half of the ensemble. The extremely talented and unassuming Franklin Bruno of Nothing Painted Blue is the other half. (Bruno is a visiting professor of philosophy at Bard College.)

Darnielle fixes the mic for Professor Bruno.

The Extra Lens rocked out with occasional help from Matt Houser, a drummer formerly with Palomar.

The only real downside to this is is the fact that it was part of the CMJ Music Marathon, so all the sets were way too short and the room to crowded — making it tough to get close enough for good photography without being a total jerk. Surprisingly, the audience was less chatty and more respectful than you sometimes find at CMJ shows and other showcases. That was a blessing.

John Vanderslice at The Mercury Lounge.

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