Thursday, February 28, 2008

Vile Blue Shades, These Are Powers, Mt. Eerie, Calvin Johnson, and Mahjongg @ Kilby Court 2.27.08


Vile Blue Shades – VBS live spectacle has been covered before on the pages of FG and not much has changed. This isn’t a bad thing though. Let’s just say that Vile Blue Shades make an incredible argument for having the best live presence in all of Salt Lake City.

These Are Powers – And then, amongst modern indie legends such as Mt. Eerie and Calvin Johnson and seasoned “dance rockin’” band, Mahjongg, These Are Powers go and play the most swaggeringly powerful, ear blisteringly loud and uncompromisingly entertaining live set that I have ever seen. That’s right, I just went there; Kilby got pwned! I literally can’t think of any set that I have seen before (or after for that matter) These Are Powers that approaches such a high level of performance. The motley Brooklyn/Chicago trio hammered through modestly labeled “ghost punk” like they were releasing packs of wolves to maul each and every member of the audience in the name of love. Lead singer/guitarist and general cartoon character, Anna Barie, paraded lankly on and off stage singing, dancing, shredding and causing general elation and discomfort with her charmingly joyful smile and prankster/partier attitude. Backed by a jarring bombardment of thick bass and pounding drums and an endless field of effects pedals, Barie lead These Are Powers into glorious display of punk spirit at its finest. I am really slaughtering this review, but for those who were present, the memory of the spectacle of this show and its accompanying sound will forever be tattooed to the brain. So so so so so so so so so so so so so so so good. I can’t say it enough.

Mt. Eerie – And then, beautifully, after the most rockingest set ever, every one sat down for the quietest one. Having seen Mt. Eerie a few times before this show I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I can’t say that he has been the most consistent of live performers that I have seen and I tried to set my expectations low. However, in a stroke of incredible luck, Phil pulled out his A game and an acoustic guitar and proved why his Microphones/Mt. Eerie project is one of my all-time favourites. Running through a series of new songs and submitting to the somewhat belabored recommendations of the crowd, Elvrum laid on his awkward charm and beautifully lulled a packed and seated Kilby Court into glossy eyed adoration. Mint. I will undoubtedly be back cataloging for the next couple of days to retain the wonderful air of Mt. Eerie’s beautiful songs.

Calvin Johnson – I better start this out by saying that I don’t really listen to Calvin Johnson. I have heard a song or two, but they were neither here nor there and I just never really gave it a try and to be honest, probably never will. About Johnson’s set last night though, let me just say this: Calvin Johnson is a comedic genius. I mean that in the best way possible too. With a quaint, subtly awkward humor Johnson basically just rambled on through half of his set while playing really inspiring, humble songs the rest. With a magnificent baritone Johnson was an absolute knock out and aside from the glory of These Are Powers, the most pleasantly surprising musician among the foray. He just seemed so calculated and comfortable and seemed to be really enjoying himself up there. I don’t know if you could ask for much more than that – a modestly assured set of beautifully humorous and solid songs and banter.

Mahjongg – I feel bad for Mahjongg. Practically 2/3 or more of the crowd had departed by the time the band finished setting up and who can blame them? The show was as good as it was long and required stamina. Fortunately and despite of some technical difficulties, Mahjongg proceed to run the remaining crowd members into the ground with a polyrhythmic, bass heavy post punk dance party and wrung every last drop of energy from anyone left standing. Another really good set that was shamefully missed by most, but certainly appreciated by everyone who stayed.

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