Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon), Ben Boye, and Jim White (Dirty Three)

True West Presents

Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon), Ben Boye, and Jim White (Dirty Three)

Sun · February 17, 2019

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$20 General Admission

This event is all ages

Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon), Ben Boye, and Jim White (Dirty Three)
Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon), Ben Boye, and Jim White (Dirty Three)
Mark Kozelek's fifth release in 2017 was created with keyboardist Ben Boye (who appeared on both of the year's Sun Kil Moon albums in addition to numerous recordings by Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Ryley Walker, among others) and Dirty Three drummer Jim White. Almost immediately, Boye and White seem like a much better, more fitting match for Kozelek than some of the musicians he'd previously collaborated with during the preceding few years. The albums with Jesu clearly sound like Kozelek singing/speaking on top of Justin Broadrick's electronic backing tracks, and Steve Shelley's drums on Common as Light and Love were highly repetitive loops. Here, the three musicians clearly seem like they're all in the same room, feeding off of each other's creative energies. This is most readily apparent during the 15-minute "Topo Gigio" (about Kozelek's childhood stuffed pig, named after the mouse puppet from The Ed Sullivan Show), during which he pauses from his observational rambling to let the music take over. At the end of the piece, the music becomes more furious, and Kozelek becomes more enraged and imitates missiles being launched, crying out "The tension is escalating!" On other tracks, the musicians seem to flow in an ambling, abstract groove, switching things up when Kozelek changes thoughts or moods. Typical of his post-Benji style, Kozelek's lyrics are a mixture of hopefulness, disgust with the state of the world, reflections on his daily life, remembrances of friends and acquaintances, and moments of goofiness and levity. He also really adores and envies cats. "House Cat" is told from the point of view of a fat, lazy house cat who wonders why all the humans keep arguing so much, or what that orange guy on the television screen is yelling about. At least half of the other songs mention felines in one way or another. Elsewhere, he reflects on everyone's differences during "Blood Test," eventually encouraging people to reject hate culture and "rise above." On "Los Margaritos," he apologizes to family members for the foul mood he was in while they took him out for dinner the previous night. "The Black Butterfly" is a surrealist tale recalling a dream where Elliott Smith was still alive and had a kid who was in danger of failing the third grade, and he invited Kozelek to tour with him. Inevitably, the nearly 90-minute album goes on longer than it needs to, with the slow, boring "February Rain" being the most skippable track. Even still, the album's best moments are insightful and touching, and for anyone following the strange path his music has taken, it's still worth hearing.
Venue Information:
Aladdin Theater
3017 SE Milwaukie Ave.
Portland, OR, 97202