Donal Dineen’s Sunken Treasure: Andy the Doorbum - ‘The Fool’

Doorbum is a North Carolina musician with a taste for the macabre and magic at his fingertips

I write this review with the benefit of actually having recently laid eyes on the elusive legend that is the man/magician/musican Andy The Doorbum. Seeing is usually believing, but in this case, there’s a whole lot of disbelieving involved too. Andy is no ordinary cat. His stage persona features an eerie concoction of grim-reaper garb and ghoulish masks. A reverberating growling snarl is his opening salvo. Welcome to the show.

It begins in darkness and gradually gets brighter as the the silicon bicycle lights which adorn every finger alight. It’s a simple idea that works a treat.

The shadow play accentuates the mysterious song themes as he twists and turns out one spooky contortions after another, all the while howling like Tom Waits on 80 cigarettes a day.

From listening to all of the records previous to The Fool, I could have been persuaded that no such human could trash the world and its foibles with such ardent feoricity and yet also fit in and live happily in it. But he slipped from raging heart-on-fire performer to regular human with great ease last week. I love it when people take their ideas to the limits onstage, then sip water and chat sidestage as if nothing happened. All nonchalant like.

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I don’t know why I doubted him. It must have slipped my mind the fact that anything is possible and art and music will never run out of ways of intertwining into new formations in their endless dance together. Here it’s at its most twisted and beguiling.

Along with guts, Andy has many gifts behind the guises. The Fool sees him enter a brave new sonic world and it's as transformative as it is terrifying. There's a menace and magic to it in almost equal parts. Succumbing to the darkness is his way of confronting it, doggedly sticking to the task of finding cracks and then building beautiful moments from these chinks of light.

And the light breaks through in every song. When it does, it’s glorious, with crescendos the size of the North Carolina hills he hails from. Beautiful codas trail off like drifting northern lights. And soon it’s dark again.