The Gig: That 1 Guy with Mr Percival
Where: The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
When: 9 December 2010
In One Word: Wondrous
While I can’t confidently claim to know what Mr Percival is “all about”, having caught but one song of his set, I can safely attest that the man is the owner of an amazing voice (with soul to spare), a shed-load of effects pedals, a humbling sense of self-deprecating humour and at least one “Kick Ass” t-shirt, so he’s clearly a-okay in my book. The age-old “one-man show” would appear to be the flavour of the evening then, as we soon enough roll around to…
That 1 Guy managed to impress me plenty on record recently – no mean feat, kids – but I now realise this is one act that truly needs to be experienced live to fully appreciate the sheer inspired lunacy of it all. Anyone who knows me even half-well will tell you that I have a mental age barely equaling that of a fourteen year-old…yet this show was enough to transport yours truly into a state comparable to child-like wonder. That 1 Guy, or Mike Silverman when he’s at home, is what you basically get if you endow Peter Pan with shiny shoes, a Tom Waits-y hat and jaw-dropping musicianship, then ask him to play a home-made “instrument” which by and largely resembles a heavily cannibalised household vacuum cleaner.
I’ll confess to pondering early in the set if this dude was simply MIMING along to a backing track, so aurally dense and visually bizarre was the whole spectacle…but Mr Silverman promptly puts us in our places by clearly demonstrating how each of the sounds is made, and I for one stand firmly corrected. Sure, about a quarter of the sounds we hear tonight are still pre-generated tracks to give him a solid base to work from, but the other three-quarters of this deliriously joyful racket – be it thumping percussion, slide-happy bass grooves, over-driven guitar-styled madness or violin-esque pomp – is produced right before our eyes, often requiring this musical mad scientist to employ the use of all four limbs at once (shame he ain’t an octopus; I’m sure he could emulate a whole damn ORCHESTRA if he were so endowed)! Oh, and he frequently sings at the same time too, with a voice both eclectic and uniformly excellent. He even performs a few suitably mystifying “magic” tricks here and there, just in case anyone in the audience isn’t bamboozled enough already.
What more can one say? Unless you have some objection to grinning non-stop like a shit-eating bastard for a spare hour-and-a-half, you probably owe it yourself to catch this eccentric critter live before you catch something more, erm, fatal (ahem). Now excuse me whilst I rummage through my closet looking for something suitably unlikely in search of the world’s next “magic pipe”…
© Michael Bowser, Music Vice
Pictures of That 1 Guy at The Corner Hotel, Melbourne: