Loved poet and fearless experimenter, Daniel Johnston played Exit/In this past Sunday night. Opening his set with a few solo songs, it was clear that age and health played a factor in his ability to perform, nonetheless, he was persevering. After a short break, Johnston reappeared with a full band. Flipping through his lengthy song book, Johnston would call out song titles, many of which band didn’t know. “Play whatever you want,” he would answer with a smile. After a humorous, yet powerfully-dark joke, and wishing the audience to find true love as an early Christmas gift, Johnston ended with an acappella version of “Funeral Home.” Brazen sincerity made Johnston’s performance truly captivating. Persistence through odds that most would quit from made it unforgettable. Maybe instead of trying to explain human existence to aliens by shooting DNA codes into space, we should just shoot a few Daniel Johnston tapes out there?
Local legend and dive bar haunt, Dave Cloud opened up with his Gospel of Power. Pumping out punk-rock tunes with a mixture of poetic bouts, Cloud paced the stage while doing his well-known take on interpretive dance. This was the first time I have gotten to see The Gospel of Power and they lived up to the hype I’ve heard about their performances. Cloud’s antics, entertaining personality and one-of-a-kind “rough as gravel” voice was absorbing. -Michael Perry