FROM a merchandising table teeming with trinkets to boasting sponsorship and endorsement deals on his website and selling meet-and-greet VIP tickets for this small-scale tour, young singer-songwriter Mike Dignam wears his willingness to wring all commercial potential out of his nascent career quite openly.
Which is maybe fair enough in this post-download age, when a decent income is hard to make in music. But it’d be nice if he at least maintained the pretence of it all being about the songs, man.
Promoting his latest EP Love. Live. Sing, the 23-year-old looked to already have the measure of his target demographic, judging by the turn-out. Teenage girls must have comprised 90 per cent of the audience.
Good looks and a perma-smile are evidently working for Dignam in unison with his songs, then, which were unanimously forgettable, if very slickly performed with the support of an equally shiny young all-male backing-band.
Stylistically he tried on a little bit of everything, but nothing really seemed to fit – from a sub-Olly Murs number called Sing With Me, to the Jackson 5-cribbing funk soul of Changed Man, to some Bon Jovi-esque big-rock balladry that sucked the joy out of the room. Folky-tinged shuffler Great Escape ticked the last remaining box at the end with its obligatory Mumfords inflections.
It was all innocently saccharine stuff and good luck to the lad, but cynics may note that there was once a time when the music industry had to knowingly manufacture music this disposable. Blame X Factor.