Sun Kil Moon – National Concert Hall, Dublin – Review by Killian Laher
The grand old venue is surely the poshest venue Mark Kozelek has played in Dublin, a place more used to black tie clad audiences was instead visited by Kozelek and his fans, new and old, young and, er, not so young. Accompanied by a three piece band, Kozelek opened the evening high above the stage on the venue’s vintage church organ, while bellowing out the lyrics to Hey You Bastards I’m Still Here and Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes. The effect was bewildering, intriguing and mesmerising. Behind this barrage of sound his band displayed a lightness of touch, especially the guitarist, playing only the necessary notes, which transformed Richard Ramirez and other songs in a live setting.
After telling the crowd how pleased he was to play in Dublin, the home of U2 and Bono, he reverted to his usual crap about how male-dominated his audience is, literally counting the guy:girl ratio in the front row! Bemoaning the fact that the ‘dudes’ in the audience didn’t have girlfriends, therefore they couldn’t understand his songs which were “about having girlfriends”. Actually some of his male fans HAVE girlfriends, some of whom have gone to see Kozelek several times and have had enough of his objectionable behaviour.
Despite these misgivings, for the most part the music worked really well as the band anchored the sound while Kozelek sashayed across the stage, alternating singing, braying and badgering the audience. Carissa became a singalong, Kozelek imploring the crowd to give it the full Bono, Sean McGowan or whatever the f**k he’s called (sic). He strapped on a distorted electric guitar for rocked up versions of The Possum and Dogs, both of which worked well. He is still capable of some sensitivity, gorgeous versions of Birds of Flims, I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same and a cover of Nick Cave’s The Weeping Song were performed with a grace absent from his audience interaction.
He rounded off the set with a version of “his favourite song in the world” Send In The Clowns and a rousing This Is My First Day And I’m Indian And I Work At A Gas Station, the latter concluding with Kozelek gently musing on the evening, set to the song’s coda. An encore which featured 18 year old Jake joining the band on single drum, featured covers of Modest Mouse’s Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes and a rocky version of Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak. Proceedings finished with Carry Me Ohio and a soaring full band version of UK Blues. At this point Mark Kozelek has, like it or not, carved out a place where he stands apart from other similar artists, mixing the sublime with the maddening, and delivering at times bewildering but often, fascinating results.
Hey You Bastards I’m Still Here
Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes
He Always Felt Like Dancing
Birds of Flims
The Weeping Song
I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same
I Can’t Live Without My Mother’s Love
Send In The Clowns
This Is My First Day And I’m Indian And I Work At A Gas Station
Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes
Carry Me Ohio