Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Danielson comes to London

Danielson is coming to London! Not only is there a rare appearance in the capital from the elusive New Jersey family/band (at the Luminaire on 3 December - with anti-folker Jeffrey Lewis), but there's a documentary about them being screened not long before the gig. Actually, I have a personal interest in the showing of the film - Danielson: A Family Movie - because my friend Ping* is putting it on. It's happening at 8pm on the evening of 26 November, at Shoreditch Church in er, Shoreditch (the big white one at the junction of Old Street, Kingsland Road and Hackney Road - map here).

There'll no doubt be more about the film on this blog in the next few weeks until the film is shown, but for now here's a short blurb about it. I've not seen it but Ping* assures me it's very good and I trust her judgement.

The movie was produced between 2002 and 2006. The Shoreditch screening is only the second time it has been shown in London (and the third time in the UK). According to the press release, the film is “a documentary about unbridled creativity vs. accessibility, Christian faith vs. popular culture, underground music vs. survival, and family vs. individuality. The film follows Daniel Smith, an eccentric musician and visual artist, as he leads his four siblings and best friend to indie-rock stardom.” OK, maybe stardom’s putting too fine a point on it, but certainly some kind of underground cult following.

According to director JL Aronson, he approached main Danielson man Daniel Smith in May 2001 because he was “fascinated with the contradictions of an earnest group of country kids wearing their faith on their sleeves and playing to a room full of cynical, atheistic city-dwellers.” What is it that makes a band who are both Christian and a bit weird accepted by secular indie music fans when they have been poorly received by many in the church?

The film also features Sufjan Stevens, a friend of Daniel Smith, who Aronson initially intended to be “my appointed stand-in as an outsider learning more about this eccentric family”, but who goes on to much greater fame. Probably more than the Danielson Family would want for themselves.

Anyway, I’d probably better not say too much more about this as I’m cribbing all this from the press release and director’s statement to make it sound like I know something about it. Which I don’t, apart from praise from friends who have seen it. I can’t wait to see it though. Roll on 26 November!

Since we're on the subject of Danielson, here are a couple of tracks from their latest album Ships. It's the only Danielson album I have, and it's one that I've recently returned to. But I'm finding that I'm loving it more with each play.

Download: Danielson - Two Sitting Ducks
Download: Danielson - Five Stars and Two Thumbs Up

Buy Ships from Amazon.


D.I.Y said...


Thanks for the introduction to Danielson, I'll be playing Two sitting ducks on the DIY Chart Show on Sunday.



ViVa D!Y

Jessica said...

Hi there - can't seem to download...? thanks!

Steve said...

Having seen them live a few times, I'm hugely excited about the Danielson gig. They're the only band I can think of that get the entire audience grinning from ear to ear. I'd try and make the film as well, but I'm not in London so I guess I'll have to wait for the DVD.

For second helpings, I'd suggest 'Fetch The Compass Kids'

The Daily Growl said...

Jessica - the files are still there OK. Sometimes there are problems with my file host (EZarchive) which prevents downloads, but working OK as I weite this.

Steve - thanks for the tip. I've had another recommendation for this album, so I must head off and download...

Shame you can't make the film. Might get to see you at the gig.

Rob Matthews said...

The film is GREAT. I saw it at the Philadelphia Film Festival last year along with the entire Smith family in the audience (the live in a part of NJ very close to Philly). Very entertaining and enlightening film.
Through some suspicious edits, I think the director tries to make you feel like Sufjan just took the Famile's ideas and repackaged them for something more popular, but that's crap. I don't even really like the Soof but I still thought that was a stretch.

Enjoy the show. I got to see them twice this summer and loved both shows. Daniel Smith is a great frontman and can get even the biggest hipster moron to snap, clap and sing along.

As for the Danielson Famile being received poorly by church people, well, I guess it depends on what church you go to. Lots of people at mine like'em.

Tell Another Joke at the Ol' Choppin' Block is also a great album but I have to say that Ships is my favorite record of theirs and probably my favorite album of the year.

Check out their video "Did I Step On Your Trumpet" on YouTube:

Sorry for such a long comment.

Jessica said...

Yep, works fine now - thanks!

Tim said...

cool, cheers for the downloads, is the whole album as good as this?
very excited about this gig, well the nottingham one anyway.

The Daily Growl said...

Yeah - it mostly is. There are plenty songs as good as if not better than these!

Anonymous said...

I love Danielson and I live in Shoreditch and would really like to get tickets for the screening at Shoreditch church - have you got a link to where they can be bought or any more info on this? Cheers xx

The Daily Growl said...

Just turn up on the evening. There are no tickets - just a suggested donation.

There should be some flyers / posters around Shoreditch or in London record shops soon...

scott@schelp said...


I have seen the film in the uk. it is great.


Anonymous said...

Heloo Im Dd, just recently moved to London... big BIG big Big fan of Jeffrey Lewis and The Danielson Family...Broke my heart 2 find out there all coming here and the show's sold-out.... ..if u know any1 who has a ticket and mayb cant make it Ill be happy to purchese the ticket from him/her/it. =^.^= electrolandd@yahoo.com