A Planet Mosh writer recounts their experience attending David Duchovny’s performance in Manchester
By Alex English
Photo: Jane Jimenez
The name David Duchovny might be familiar if you were a fan of the American cult sci-fi show The X-Files where he became notably known for his role as FBI agent Fox Mulder. Duchovny also gained famed playing Hank Moody in the adult sitcom Californication. He now joins the list of other, cross over actors like Juliette Lewis, Bruce Willis and Kiefer Sutherland who have ventured on a musical career. At the age of 58, Duchovny proves it’s never too late to put your heart and soul into pursuing your dreams. Aside from writing three novels; he’s now released his second album Every Third Thought.
With a packed out show at the Royal Northern College of Music, you could easily think that it’d be a sombre affair with a seated performance but you couldn’t be further from the truth as David Duchovny demos that he is as serious about his singing career and it’s not just a fad or knee jerk reaction or a mid-life crisis as some may speculate.
David Duchovny looks a little apprehensive as approaches the stage, slowly, taking his position in the centre. You can’t quite see his backing band that is still emerging from the shadows but you can hear Pat McCusker with his a big sounding Gibson ES guitar being played, it’s distinctive clear-cut sound soars out over the audience on the evocative Spiral.
There’s nothing fossilized about this newish music agent. But you’d be right to assume that some of the audience is only here to catch a glimpse of their favourite A-list star. Whilst others are sat curiously in awe of the man on stage, the fevered front row fans have done their homework and are singing along to their icon. You might say whatever Duchovny turned his hand to people would be there but you’re going to get that if you’re renowned for doing something else. I like that David has a following, and for whatever reason, they are out in support. As many a musician knows, weathering venues of all shapes and sizes have to be done to make your musical imprint.
Interacting with the crowd appears to be second nature to Duchovny. From bantering to fans down the front, he misses no one out as he breaks free from the stage during his cover of The Velvet Undergrounds Sweet Jane. Performing a victory lap around the seated patrons, he’s; like Pac-man as he greets his fans up and down the aisles, I even got a high-five from the back row. It just showed, no matter the celebrity status he’s just a down to earth guy. Returning to the stage and holding his mike aloft, his fans sing back to him the chorus as he completes his cover version of this classic rock song.
Stranger in the Sacred Heart holds a special place for David as he explains that this song is about his father, and he wrote it about his dad and hopes the lyrics will mean something to you as they do to him. Placing his hand to his chest, you can feel his passion for this striking melodic rock number as it crescendos full force towards the end of its journey.
How would you describe David Duchovny vocally? Personally, he reminds me of Mason Jennings with the way he performs some of his songs, they are reflective and weighty. With his deep husky voice and smouldering undertones, his vocals wouldn’t be out of place on some of the more profound Bon Jovi songs.
Hell or Highwater from his first album got Duchovny all in a flurry, as the audience got out their phones and shone them like little flames of light towards him on stage. Messing up the lyrics, he halts the song and responds by saying ‘’ I’ve fucked up this song and it all your fault, and I love you for it.” ”So I’m gonna try to make it through the rest of the song without weeping’’ and ‘’Just like Meatloaf you took the words right of my mouth’’. As his band gears up, Duchovny manages to sing out the rest of the song in beautiful surround of torchlight from the crowd.
Taking an encore the band and David leave the stage. Duchovny returns wearing a Man-united- football shirt, it goes down alright with the fans albeit with a bit of booing from some of them, that aren’t local football supporters!
Singing the beautiful piano-based Let It Rain which is accompanied by his talented violinist. David then tells us the next song was a huge hit in the 80s as he finishes his set with a cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s Turn Out the Lights. Almost everyone is stood up out of their seats and rocking out to this memorable 80s hit. I don’t think Duchovny thought much of the football shirt as he promptly removed it towards the end of the set and in turn received a rapturous round of applause!
Playing for an hour and a half the time seems to fly by. Duchovny and co have cleverly honed their own sound as well as throwing in some crowd-pleasing cover songs into the mix, which made for a great evening of easy listening rock with David being the entertaining humble host.
I read that Duchovny said in an Interview ”come see the actor, stay for the music” and he couldn’t be more precise as tonight we got to see the musical side of this multi-talented showman. Did I mention he can play the guitar, it just didn’t surface in tonight’s show, now that would be something I like to see him do!