David Duchovny is a man of many talents. For most of my life I have known him as agent Fox Mulder from the X-Files. But more recently I’ve enjoyed his late in life music career.
At first I was sceptical like most people are of professional actors dipping their toes into music. I think it’s safe to say we all remember Bruce Willis’ short lived music career, crooning under the moniker of Bruno Radolini, singing Respect Yourself, a surprise hit, making it all the way to No.5 on the U.S charts in 1987. But you know what? Despite the fact that Duchovny isn’t a natural singer, he is nonetheless surprisingly humble and entertaining.
I read once that one of his biggest regrets was arguably not learning to play music in his younger days. But to his credit Duchovny took it upon himself late in life, to learn how to play guitar and string together some melodies and lyrics to boot. From it came his first album Hell or Highwater, a blend of folk rock with country leanings. Looking back, I think it received some lukewarm attention. Importantly, I don’t remember Duchovny getting cruxified for his efforts. That’s good, right?
Interestingly, whether Duchovny admits it or not, this new side project is simply just that, a side project. And while it might seem that, he is genuinely having a lot of fun doing it, and maybe even more so now with the release of his second album Every Third Thought.
When I heard he was supporting his new album with his band with a handful of shows in New Zealand and Australia, it’s fair to say I was pscyched. So without hesitation I locked in my tickets to see the man I have spent more hours watching on my TV screen than anyone else. And yes while a lot of fans came last night to his live show because of his fame as an actor, I still hoped they came to listen to his spirited attempt to have some fun through his love of music.
My expectations of the night was at first tepid, yet jovial, but I was put at ease quickly with a playful performance by support act Georgia Maq, who herself was quite excited to be opening for Duchovny. As she teased the eclectic audience, late in her act, of the imminent arrival of Duchovny and his five piece band, the show eventually began in earnest with ACDC’s Thunderstruck, warming us up as if a prized fighter was about to jump into the ring (on stage). Between the playful guitar introduction of one of ACDC’s most loved songs, the boisterous crowd began chanting “David!” at the top of their lungs, in place of “thunder!”. Answering the call, Duchovny’s band arrived with the man himself not too far behind. With a humble appreciative wave he burst straight into his song 3000 from Hell or Highwater.
What followed was a good-natured night of a collection of fifteen songs from both albums, including three cover songs The Weight, Rebel Rebel and Crowded House’s beloved Don’t Dream It’s Over, sung in it’s entirety by Colin Lee on keyboards, all the while Duchovny quietly danced on stage. He even enjoyed being loved-up by an adorning crowd, as he mingled briefly amongst those lucky enough closest to the stage. On the subject of dancing, it was quite amusing (in a nice way) to see Duchovny dance unashamedly all night. And it seems that Duchovny has somewhat mastered some of Mick Jagger’s moves! There was even time for plenty of banter, as he discussed the meaning of “fanny” and how the song The Weight still translates, despite it’s different meaning here as compared to the States. On a sombre note, Duchovny touched on the charged issue of gun violence and thanked us for leading the way (in gun control) and hoped that his country would eventually follow our lead. He even told us the story behind my favourite song of the evening Stranger In The Sacred Heart, inspired in part by the death of his late father.
All in all, I had a wonderful evening surrounded by a crowd who all seemed to share the same enthusiasm I had for Duchovny’s musical adventure. Importantly, no one really gave a shit whether or not he could register a high note.
Finally, a honourable mention to his stellar band – Colin Lee on keyboards, Michael Stewart on bass, Pat Mc Cusker on electric guitar, Sebastian Modak on drums and Keenan O’Brien on acoustic guitar. Without these guys and the brotherhood that Duchovny referred to about his relationship with these talented musicians, there is no way he would have pulled off such a wildly enjoyable night.