Daniel Johnston, Crescent Ballroom, 2/3/13

Daniel Johnston @ Crescent Ballroom | 2/3/13
An enthusiastic young man in the crowd shouts: "We all love you, Daniel!"

Daniel Johnston, the grizzled man onstage, backed by a selection of Phoenix all-star players from Jimmy Eat World, Reubens Accomplice, Dry River Yacht Club, Boxhead Ensemble, Limbeck, and Source Victoria, answers with a slur, albeit a certain one: "I seriously doubt it. I seriously doubt it."

The scene is at the heart of what makes the music of outsider songwriter Daniel Johnston compelling: We love him, for his words, his melodies, and his unique perspective, but there's an element of real pain in every song. For every childlike, beautiful hymn like "True Love Will Find You in the End," there's an "I Hate Myself"; for every bad guy-whooping Captain America he draws, there's a terrifying vision of Satan consuming souls.

See also:

-Daniel Johnston at Crescent Ballroom, 2/3/13 (Slideshow) -Daniel Johnston's in Love With a Mad, Mad World

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.