Daniel Pujol, who records and performs under his last name, isn't one for spectacle or glamour. His music is fueled by repeated guitar hooks and simple lyrics, like, "But I think I did a good job of convincing myself not to blow my brains out against the wall." Yeah, that's about as far from glamorous as you can get. And his short set at Lost Lake Lounge wasn't glamorous, either, but it sure was fun.
With his bulging eyes and high-pitched snarl, Pujol brings to life the mundane struggles, existential wonderings and quiet defeats of being a twenty-something today. That life isn't glamorous, so Pujol focuses on the simple. From simple hooks to simple lyrics to using his graduate vocabulary to help communicate the most basic emotions, he is a unique artist who is able to communicate with everyone, and everyone at the Lost Lake was more than happy to converse with him. He spoke with his guitar notes and lyrics about people possibly being lizards, and the crowd danced and moshed and screamed along in response.
The small, all-black room was packed, and other than a couple of monitors, there were no barriers between the band and the audience. In fact, during "No Words," an audience member joined Pujol and the two shared a mike, singing verses together. Pujol makes music about people, about the interactions and feelings between them, so it was only fitting that this show contained such intimacy.
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At one point, an enthusiastic couple decided to take up a third of the already tiny space to dance together, and everyone just cheered at them. That's because, even when Pujol is singing about his suicidal thoughts, it's hard to be mad at a Pujol show. Pujol knows the world is tough, that everyone has struggles big and small, and that our dreams are too often killed by disillusionment and anxiety and debt. So he uses his music to create a space of good, to create a moment where you can't help but smile at his damn catchy guitar hooks and dance to songs like "Circles." That's what his fast-paced set at Lost Lake was, just a space where a bunch of twenty-somethings, many of them possibly frustrated or upset at some aspect of their lives, were able to let go and just enjoy the music.
While Pujol packages himself as just a guy with a guitar writing basic songs, he is much more than that. He is very much in tune with the people around him and how he communicates with them and what that means. He clearly thinks quickly and writes with purpose. And he's able to put those observations into music in a brilliant way. If Pujol can keep exploring those little moments and emotions and packaging them the way he does, in beat-heavy, frantic guitar-playing bursts, there's no doubt that next time he comes through town, it'll be at a bigger venue with even more kids who connect with him as much as he connects with them.
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