Sun Kil Moon – Vicar Street – Live Review – 28-11-17
Review by Killian Laher
In a year where Mark Kozelek has released an awful lot of awful music, he and his band Sun Kil Moon rounded off their European tour with probably his biggest ever show in Dublin. With no support, they started a marathon set not long after 8pm, finishing a mere three hours later. With so much new music to choose from, Kozelek was always going to draw his set mostly from recent albums, which he did, consulting page after page of lyric sheets in between prowling the stage. He was in a good mood, berating the crowd far less than usual as he delivered rambling songs like Daffodils and Black Butterfly interspersed with rambling rants about U2, Steely Dan (who he doesn’t like), AC/DC, Neil Young and Thin Lizzy (who he does), boxers (he likes) and Conor McGregor (he’s not sure about him). He took time out to slag off The Edge’s guitar style, telling all and sundry how much better a guitarist he is, though his own guitar was largely ignored for the night. He also addressed his fans who want to hear Red House Painters songs from 1995 while slating bands who tour 30 year old albums while his band kept things tight musically. This would all be fine but for the complete lack of good songs on show.
Kozelek came across increasingly as a parody of himself, referencing Shane McGowan, Led Zeppelin, his dick etc, asking us to “give it up for Chili Lemon Peanuts” … or Blood Test, it’s hard to tell the difference as his current long, rambling output all sounds like one song. He resembled Jake LaMotta in his comedian phase – a pale reflection of himself. A version of AC/DC’s Rock n Roll Singer just about worked, Kozelek holding onto the last note at the end of each chorus for an incredible amount of time. Newer, unrecorded songs like Linda Blair didn’t fare any better as Kozelek did a blood-curdling appropriation of the aforementioned Exorcist character, roaring into the microphone. Another new one, My Love For You Is Undying came across as one of the better songs of the night in that it’s actually musical, though he did find time to rhyme “cold as Isis” with “crisis”, and also A Dream of Winter is a half-decent idea, not particularly well-executed. But mostly we got terrible, groove based sub-Doors crap like Butch Lullaby and, in the encore, House Cat. He tried a few bars of Whiskey In The Jar, as his band sounded just like every bang average wedding band backing him up. Not even a rocked up Dogs could save the night.
As if we didn’t already know, the man who wrote many, many sensitive and affecting songs is long gone. There’s no doubt Mark Kozelek is enjoying doing this kind of thing, having a great time at the expense of his audience. But there comes a time when enough is enough, and for his long-suffering fans, that time may have arrived.
The Black Butterfly
My Love For You Is Undying
Soap for Joyful Hands
Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer (AC/DC cover)
Chili Lemon Peanuts
A Dream Of Winter
Madrid-Oporto-Heathrow (new song)
Whiskey in the Jar