David Duchovny, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, 22nd February 2019
Listen, we all know why we’re here so I am not going to pretend anything different. I went to see David Duchovny on the final night of his brief “Every Third Thought” European tour because I’ve loved him (ok, I’ve loved Fox Mulder) since I was 10 years old rather than because I’m fired up about his music. Being in the same room as him, even if that room is a 2000 capacity venue was impossible to resist.
So, what about the music then? Well, I wasn’t expecting much but I had a great a time. Duchovny’s songs are pretty middle of the road rock, but he delivers them with enough panache to take the crowd along with him. He too, clearly knows why we are all here and he works the crowd well and genuinely seems to be having a blast with his band.
For reasons that became clear later in the show, the general admission was seated. If you’ve been to this venue before and you’re anything like me you’ll know that this can be a bad sign since it means the artist needs to work a bit harder to engage the crowd. Low key opener Spiral didn’t quite do the job, but 3000, which is one of my favourite tracks from his debut album Hell or Highwater got everyone on their feet, much to his delight - he commented that he liked this since it showed we weren't too polite, welcome to W12, babe. I wonder if the audiences across eastern europe at the beginning of the tour were much more reserved? Album and tour title track Every Third Thought was another crowd pleaser and he really got into working the crowd during this one. Things slowed down for new track Stay Until and Roman Coin but then he decided to MAKE MY LIFE by doing a Bowie song - judging by the reaction, not everyone was familiar with Stay but I sure as hell appreciated it and both he and the band did a good job with it.
We were then treated to an acoustic version of Positively Madison Avenue followed by a bit of crowd pleasing political discussion, which I’m pretty sure was just an excuse to say c--t since we use that word as a term of endearment around here. Since I like nothing more than a drum solo, I really enjoyed Another Year which allowed the band to shine, but things really kicked up a gear of with The Last First Time, it’s a good song, there’s cowbell and it was well delivered and that lyric about being “somewhere south of the truth” is one of his best. Hell or Highwater created a sea of swaying phone lights in the crowd, but the increase in tempo for Unsaid Undone obviously suited him and this was the song it felt like he enjoyed the most, so much so that the start of Half Life seemed to surprise him.
The band obviously knew they needed to crack on though, because the four(!) song encore started from within the crowd (told you the reason for the seating would become clear later) with Let it Rain. This was followed by another cover, this time Blue Oyster Cult’s Burnin’ For You which was probably my favourite song of the night, thanks in no small part to a significant amount of hip thrusting (judge me all you want, I told you what I came here for). After When the Whistle Blows he ended on a high with The Velvet Underground’s Sweet Jane.
David Duchovny is never going to set the music world alight, but then he doesn’t really need to. He’s giving his fans what they want with a high level of interaction and he’s clearly having a great time jamming out with his band and visiting new cities along the way. His rockyer songs are his best and he does the covers well because you can see he’s enjoying himself. One of my heros came out to my corner of London, he got me dancing and I had a genuinely good time and that’s really what music should be all about (that, and unexpected Bowie covers