A document of Daniel Johnston’s 2007 gig at Islington’s Union Chapel, The Angel & Daniel Johnston is an entirely independently produced affair that, through its personal and intimate portrayal of the concert, not only makes the viewer feel like they were there, but also offers a glimpse into the complex and tortured world of the man himself. As such, it’s not necessarily easy viewing – Johnston’s shaking hands and clearly damaged personality may shock the unsuspecting, while the songs, though beautifully arranged with the help of James Yorkston, Adem and other guests, are a baseball still very much lost in the long grass of left field. It is, however, irrefutable evidence of Johnston’s raw talent and his innate and natural ability to move and inspire.
In the settings of the church, captured beautifully on film, this becomes even more apparent. His songs are childlike yet haunting, clumsy yet powerful, naive yet incisive, and they fill the venue with pathos, humour, hope and wonder. Watching him shake through the sadness of Some Things Last A Long Time or sing through the heartbreaking splendour of Living Life is as honest, wonderful and revealing a portrait of Johnston as could ever be possible.