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Archive for Red House Painters

Mark Kozelek @ the Social, Orlando, Fl 9/23

I first heard some Red House Painters a few years back when I had just moved back to Florida. It was striking how stark and weathered the lyrics were, as if the songs had been written by a man crippled by loss. Katy Song, in particular, stuck out in my mind.

“I thought you’d come over. For some reason you didn’t. Glass, on the pavement under my shoe. Without you is all my life amounts to.”

I hadn’t heard emptiness conveyed so well before.

So I had the pleasure of seeing Kozelek play a solo gig at one of this city’s finer venues, the Social on Sunday night. It was a somber set that ultimately ran like a tragic comedy.

I sort of had this idea of what the show would be: quaint, intimate, candid.

On the part of Kozelek it was all of those things. When he spoke, his voice could hardly fill the room. So the mostly respectful crowd of aging hipsters kept quiet. Not a single clink of a glass (I felt like a dick when the ice in my cup moved). When he picked at his guitar it sounded gentle. When he poked fun at some audience members, it was amusing.

“What’s another one of your favorite songs from YouTube?”

But juxtaposed with this was the thumping hip hop bass from the Beacham Theater next door. During every second of the night, Kozelek was nearly drowned out by the club’s music. It was enough to make him pause between songs and seemingly hesitate to go on to the next. At one point he jokingly offered to bring the show over to his hotel suite instead. He refered to his set, bitingly, as the “Orlando, Florida version.” He took it with humor but it was obvious he was bothered, and rightfully so.

It was frustrating to try to get into his playing only to be distracted by the rattling and shaking of the walls between the Social and the Beacham. But when we could all tune in on Kozelek it actually proved to be an amusing set. From Sunshine in Chicago:

“My band played here a lot in the 90s when we had, lots of female fans, and fuck, they were all cute. Now I just sign posters for guys in tennis shoes.”

U.K. Blues, while a dull, kind of hokey acoustic track, was funny, even when relying on stereotypes:

“Bristol, Bristol, cobblestone streets. People missing teeth. Bristol, Bristol is this really what people eat?”

This element of humor was largely unexpected to me. I hadn’t been overly familiar with newer Sun Kil Moon and expected a pang of bleakness to his lyrics. It’s there but in a self-deprecating and assholish humor.

Some highlights included the banter with audience members:

“I know tomorrow you’ll be somewhere in London,” said a woman.

“No I won’t. Tomorrow I’ll be in fucking Nashville, which is better.”

To an enthusiastic guy by the bar:

“What are you ‘oh-ING’ for? You don’t even know the song. What song is it? No…fucking idiot. Hey! Pearl Jam!”