by / July 28th, 2009 /

Mark Kozelek, Andrews Lane Theatre, Dublin

Last October Katie Kim pressed 500 vinyl copies of her brilliant debut LP. A refreshingly authentic album, Twelve proved to be one of the finest releases of the 2008 and found Katie being heralded as an Irish Mazzy Star which isn’t too far off the mark. On supports duties Katie treats a half-filled Andrews Lane Theatre to poetic tales of biddings wars and oceanic trips. Her vocal is warm, breathy and saccharine accompanied beautifully by subtle saxophone. Along with heavily reverbed guitar the soundscape created was hazy and melancholic. Of particular note -Crocodile’ was gripping and remarkable, a heavy piano sample looped over floating guitar and foggy sax with Katie bowing a bass guitar. Ms. Kim is playing the Kilkenny Arts Festival in August and Electric Picnic in September, a slot State will definitely be looking out for.

Anyone familiar with his shows will be well aware that Mark Kozelek often allows the environment to affect his mood and his mood always affects his show. So when he immediately complains about the buzzing noise before he finds the ‘fog machine’ and switches it off himself we’re left wondering if it’s going to be another one of those shows.

Thankfully there’s nothing to fear. Mark assures us he is in good form as he ushers the crowd forward to the empty space directly before him caused by a curious arrangement of table and chairs dotted around the theatre.

Another signature of a Mark Kozelek solo show is that he rarely plays songs as per record. On a nylon strung Spanish guitar Mark opens the show with Sun Kil Moon’s -Glenn Tipton’ with only minor chord changes to suit the style. This is followed by -Admiral Fell Promises’, a live favourite which can only be found on the White Christmas Live album.

On last year’s April album Bonnie -Prince’ Billy provides backing vocals for -Like A River’, tonight Mark fares more than well without his accompaniment. Consistently impressive, Kozelek’s voice is pristine clear yet richly harmonic at the same time, bellowing and soft all at once.

As he assured us, Mark is indeed in good form. He jokes with one punter to take the screwdriver out of his ear and wonders why Dublin taxi drivers dislike Bono so much. He also treats us to a cover of Michael Jackon’s -I’ll Be There’. Ok its your typical Mark Kozelek deconstruction then reconstructed in his own style but its lovely none the less, almost hymn like.

There’s more Sun Kil Moon with -Moorestown’ and -Carry Me Ohio’ which prove to be crowd pleasers. However the night belongs to -Last Tide’ which blends into -Floating’. Lost in his own world and illuminated in blue light, Kozelek cuts the loneliest figure imaginable as he cries for his love to come to him. But don’t feel too bad for him, later in the show he flirts outrageously, and some what commendably, with the girl behind the sound desk. Hats off.

There are three new songs. One tells the tale of ‘scenesters with their beards and tennis shoes, skinny girls and pudgy ugly dudes’. The guitarmanship on -Heron Blue’ is sensational, strumming in a baroque style his guitar sounds like a baby grand piano. Picking up a steel string guitar Mark closes the set with -Duck Koo Kim’, he plays like he has tiny hammers instead of fingers on his right hand. It’s epic rendition which fades into Modest Mouse’ -Jesus Christ Was An Only Child’.

The encore includes -You Ain’t Got a Hold On Me’ and -Tiny Cities Made of Ashes’.

Throughout the show Kozelek sporadically indulges in his new found flamenco style which delightful to hear. But even more exciting is how it will sound with a full band on his next Sun Kil Moon record.

The full set list can be found here.

  • Good stuff, sounds like he was on solid ‘Kozelek’ form. The grumpier the better, I say. At the Whelan’s gig I think he was a whisker away from sticking a digital camera up one enthusiastic fan’s arse.