Reviews \

Interrogating Mike Doughty

VANCOUVER: Former Soul Cougher answers a few questions. Oh, and he plays some songs, too.

“Scrap, mix ‘em up real good,” Mike Doughty said to Andrew “Scrap”Livingston at Vancouver’s Red Room venue Saturday night (Dec. 1), asthe cellist/guitarist readied a host of crowd queries as a part ofDoughty’s Question Jar tour. The former Soul Coughing frontman answeredall questions in between songs — except, that is, when there were noqueries. “This is not a declarative statement jar,” he chidedgood-naturedly after a few duds, and before launching into SoulCoughing’s “Circles.”

Confident and direct, and sporting adark blazer over a black t-shirt, Doughty offered up a mix of oldermaterial and new songs from upcoming solo LP Golden Deliciousas the crowd, ranging from young dudes in hoodies to older, artsycouples, laughed and stood close, shouting callbacks and questionclarifications. “Busting Up a Starbucks,” from 2005’s Haughty Melodic and Ruby Vroom’s”Janine” were fan faves; fresh tunes like “Navigating by the Stars atNight” softened Doughty’s delivery, while maintaining the lyricaltenacity for which he’s best known.

Make no mistake, however,this was no campfire session — even though Doughty took time out toanswer even the non sequitur variety (“Do chicks still dig robots?”Doughty: “I think it’s pirates now”). Doughty, a former addict, handleda question about Vancouver’s government-sponsored safe heroin injectionsites with a hard-eye: “Clean needles, yes; methadone, no.” Aftercourting the last holdouts with “Looking at the World from the Bottomof a Well,” reciting an E.E. Cummings poem, covering Kenny Rogers’ “TheGambler,” and telling us how to heal a broken heart (“If you’re a man,shave every day. I’m serious”), Doughty went as he came: walking talland carrying a glass jar.

We Asked: What query would you put in Mike Doughty’s question jar?