Halifax is no stranger to the one-man band. BA Johnson comes to mind, leaping beer-soaked and shirtless from Casio to guitar, or Shotgun Jimmie, who sings like an angel while strumming away and pumping a bass drum with his feet. Then there's Mike Silverman, AKA That 1 Guy. Though Silverman falls under the same "one-man band" mantle, a more apt description might be "one-man baffling visual odyssey."
Silverman, a double-bassist by trade, wields something he calls a "Magic Pipe"---a seven-foot-tall piece of galvanized steel adorned with a single bass string, a snare drum and noisemaking trinkets. Add to this a loop pedal, electrified "Magic Boots," beat-boxing, jerky dance moves and a Captain Beefheart-meets-Ray Stevens songwriting style and you've got an experience that's both mind-bogglingly impressive and totally bizarre.
Silverman explains his MO over a lousy phone connection while driving from Philadelphia to Ithaca, NY: "The pipe is getting redesigned constantly," he says. "I collect lots of things on the road and just add to it. I'm really big into adding things to the shows in general---not just musically, but also with the physicality of what I'm doing."
After years of touring, Silverman took up residence in Las Vegas and started to learn magic tricks. "I'm really getting into illusions and weird little movement things," he says. "I can't describe them, really, but you'll see them in Halifax."
Veterans of the Evolve Festival can attest to the weird, captivating power of Silverman's performances: last year, the crowd and Silverman traded animal noises back and forth. Although he loves Evolve, Silverman adds that the atmosphere in a smaller club setting, like the Paragon, can be just as enriching. "I like being more interactive, with the call-and-response sing-along type stuff," he says. "I really thrive off a close, fun vibe."
That 1 Guy
The Paragon Theatre,
2037 Gottingen Street