David Duchovny at the Paramount in Huntington
While it is true that David Duchovny is best known as an actor and for his roles as FBI Agent Fox Mulder on the FOX television series The X-Files and as writer Hank Moody on the Showtime television series Californication, Duchovny is much more than that. He is a renaissance man. In addition to acting, he is an accomplished writer, producer, director, novelist, and singer-songwriter.
During the past two years, Duchovny has released two books through the Farrar, Straus and Giroux imprint: 2015's Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale, a zany madcap adventure whose hero is a bovine, and Bucky F*cking Dent: A Novel centering on the bonds between fathers and sons and the fierce rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox. He also released his first album, Hell or Highwater (Thinksay, 2015). Duchovny's debut CD is a compelling mixture of folk rock, pop, alternative rock and country.
On a pleasant and unusually warm night in late February, Duchovny and his band touched down at Huntington, NY's The Paramount for a highly anticipated evening of entertainment with a surprise. The evening's performance represented one of only eleven stops on the short tour. The venue was filled with fans with various agendas. Some were fans of his music. Some, as evidenced by their X-Files t-shirts were fans of his work on the sci-fi TV series. And finally, some were there out of curiosity.
The evening began with a short solo warm-up set by Colin Lee (who is also the producer of Duchovny's CD and a member of his band) that featured well-written and arranged originals as well as a stripped-down cover of Bruce Springsteen’s "Dancing In the Dark." Next up was Brooklyn, NY's The Elevator Party, a four piece group whose short, sturdy and very funky performance set the tone for the rest of the evening.
After a short intermission, Duchovny took the stage. He was greeted with whistles, cheers and rousing applause. He appeared relaxed in his jeans, Grateful Dead t-shirt and sports jacket. Following the opening tune, "Let It Rain," Duchovny addressed the crowd. He simply said, "What's up Long Island. Let's call this home tonight." His set included nice renditons of "Stars," 3000," "Passenger" and "The Things." from his album. He also offered up rocking versions of "Someone Else's Girl" and "If Less is More, More is Less." The highlight of the main set was the powerful cover of David Bowie's "Stay." Another musical highlight was the new song "Roman Coin."However, the evening's biggest highlight occurred when Duchovny jumped off the stage and greeted his public. During this audience excursion, shocked but happy audience members got to shake the man's hand and dance with him while his band played on. The main set ended with strong versions of Hell or Highwater's "Unsaid, Undone" and "When The Time Comes."
It was on the encores that Duchovny really shined. The singer along with his band members returned wearing "Pussy Hats," the pink knitted beanies with cat ears made popular at the January 21, 2017 Women's March On Washington following Donald Trump's Presidential Inauguration. Duchovny and the band treated the audience to two "classic" covers. The first was a spot-on rendition of the Band's "The Weight." the last was an even more ambitious cover--Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane." The crowd ate it up. What better way to end a concert than to have the audience sing along with the band. The tried and true extremely well-known covers accomplished that and more. Not only did Duchovny's diehard fans join in the celebration, but those who questioned his musical chops couldn't help but join in the musical celebration.
Duchovny's performance was well-suited to his material. Had the lead singer of his band not been the famous actor, the evening would have been classified as a good show featuring an up-and-coming group. That's not a bad thing. That's pretty damn good. Any new group would be thrilled with that categorization. Because it was David Duchovny, some audience member began the evening with questions and before hearing a note were prepared to be harsh critics. Thankfully, the performance quieted the naysayers. At times, though the music took a backseat to Duchovny's star power. Many audience members spent most of the evening trying to get closer to the stage to take cellphone photos and or video of Duchovny. In addition, many girls in the audience spent a good portion of the night shrieking and staring at the performer. It wasn't as insane and intense as the Beatles' initial U.S. performances, but a similar, though slightly less out-of-hand case could be made.
All Photos by Christine Connallon.
Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon.