Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Sun Kil Moon @ El Rey, Los Angeles, May 2009
(photo finishing by D. Willis)
Another night in LA, down the Hollywood fwy and through Tinseltown, winding down Wilshire, en route to the El Rey Theater, (for the first time); the event: Sun Kil Moon. Not only the opportunity to make a big check off the list of ‘never seens’, but also the first of two different shows in different zip codes w/my old running dog Cameron, from the 129…
It’s his home base, and he's all set up waiting with a prime spot against the wall, and advice about the show's 'no camera' policy, which speaks to the lack of accompanying media. One of the abstract shots came out pretty fun, so that's above.
The band entered to a raucous reception, then swung right into 'Glenn Tipton', as much a mission statement as a song...The show was weighted heavily to Kozelek's 'Sun Kil Moon records, "Ghosts of the Great Highway", and last year's "April". After that table setter, he aired out the Red House Painters chestnut, "Make Like Paper", giving the band it's head, finding a noisy groove, and generally giving the lie to the misconception of his shows always being hushed, church.like affairs. No doubt, it moved into meditative moments during the string that ran from "Last Tide/Floating", through "Like The River", "Down Colorful Hill", "Heron Blue", and an incandescent "Moorestown".
The tide turned with the high point of the night; a roiling, absolutely relentless take on “River”, from the Red House Painters ‘Old Ramon’. The guitars locked in and the groove kept building on and on for over 12 minutes, and as Cameron noted: “These guys don’t let go”. Astute, and notable for him not having heard the song before. "Tonight In Bilboa" was given a tender reading, making way for a charge through "Pancho Villa", and closing the set with a luminous reading of "Duk Koo Kim".
They came out to open the encore w/a delicate rendition of "Unlit Hallway", then backed it up with the Modest Mouse cover, "Trucker's Atlas" to much audience acclaim. Kozelek's way with a cover is part of the legend at this juncture. Kozelek came out one more time, alone, and threw out a brand new song before finally taking his leave. A fitting end to a magical night.