Mark Kozelek – Button Factory – Review

“Thank you Dublin, we love you!”

“Dublin fans are the best in the world!”

Two things I’ve heard a hundred times before, from various bands and singers and it’s a lie. We secretly know that this is just another stop on their tour, and that tomorrow they’ll be saying the same thing in Cork or London or whatever direction they’re heading in. It’s a lie, but it’s a lie we love to hear! It makes us feel special and loved and that’s not a bad thing!

This was my first time to see Mark Kozelek in a number of years, after a certain night in Whelans that lived long in my memory. That night in no particular order, the air conditioning was too loud, the on stage lighting was too bright and hot, the fans sang along too loudly, they requested the wrong songs and multiple other complaints were thrown at the bewildered crowd. He told us we (as a nation) drank too much, to which most of the crowd cheered and held up their pints. Then he told us we had a problem, and it was not funny! This was Mark in a bad mood and the end of a long tour. He’s a grumpy man, and if you get him on the wrong night, you’re in for it! The music will always be sublime, but that’s taken as a given with Mark, he’s an amazingly talented singer-songwriter, a powerful and truthful lyricist with a beautiful voice and dazzling technique at the guitar. It’s just what you have to put up with to get the music is the bad thing!

Last night (November 7th) in the Button Factory, there was no air conditioning, the fans were perfectly quiet other than applauding and cheering at the end of every song, the lighting was just right, moody and subtle and none of the fans were particularly drunk (a mid week seated gig after all). So what did Mark have to complain about? A bag! Someone in the front row was holding a seat for a friend and had left a bag on the seat. ‘I traveled thousands of miles to play to a bag, is that what’s there to inspire me?’ Thankfully, a guy name Steve shouted up that he’d take the seat, and then requested a song Mark didn’t mind playing.  The crisis was averted, and we had a guy named Steve to thank for it!

As ever, his music was hugely impressive, he played most of his new album which in my mind is one of the releases of the year, and also played a number of new songs, with a couple of old gems thrown in, in the form of Mistress and Glen Tipton. He finished the night with his new anthem, UK Blues, the song of a singer that hates touring! It was a quite lovely night of music, and one that will live long in my mind. He’s a fascinating character in truth, a complex guy that doesn’t believe in the rock and roll clichés and speaks his mind regardless. You just have to hope you don’t get him in a bad mood!

Categories: Gigs

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