I've been burnt out on shows lately. Unless the conditions are perfect I usually end up annoyed, tired, bored, or pissed off at something/someone. I've seen way too many live bands to be impressed by much. So it goes without saying that I have recently been skipping out on shows that a year or two ago I would not have missed for the world. I knew that No Kids could get me out of my funk though. I had complete faith and walking into Kilby and seeing it packed with high school hipster youth decked head to toe in anything Urban Outfitters skeptically eyeing me in my old cargo maternity pants and Cosby sweater being followed by Thistle carrying our little 7 month old son didn't even set me back. I went there to be affected, and I was. No Kids played mostly new songs that after hearing I prematurely evaluated to Thistle "best album of 2010." The grooves were thick and bassy as expected, but an unexpected twist was that No Kids drummer was M.I.A. and Phil Elverum was Philling in (get it?) Phil played primarily the same beats, but added his own flourishes on the few songs that they played off of Come into My House. I love that album and wanted to hear it performed as recorded, but when all was said and sung, Phil's addition was very enjoyable, not better or worse, but different and good. The female vocals were replaced by harmonizing piano and No Kids grooved me right into remembering why I love to see bands live, and it felt gooooood.
Now, Mt. Eerie on the other hand, I was not looking forward to. Don't get me wrong I like Mt. Eerie, but I have seen them 4 times already and figured I would just leave after the first song. But then I saw their setup and thought maybe they would keep my attention. They more than kept my attention. The thing about Phil Elverum is that you never know what you are going to get. I have seen him play a show where he didn't even bring his own guitar and had to borrow someones and then sang songs to a cross legged audience out of a sketchbook that he had just barely written and although the songs were pleasant, they were almost always unfinished, botched and interrupted with giggling. This time around Phil's crew obliterated the tiny Kilby Court with an absolute wave of sound on the first note coming from No Kids on the keys, Phil on guitar and two drummers with intense setups. I'm talking gongs, mallets, wire brushes and the works. Let me just tell you, I am a sucker for two drummers playing synchronized beats and I was smitten from the first crash. Phil is at his absolute best when playing his metal sets. As I mentioned before, our 7 month old child was in attendance and even though he was adorned in his noise cancellation headphones we still felt it was WAY too loud for him. Thistle was outside with him, but it was raining and I wasn't able to enjoy Mt. Eerie's entire set. From what I saw (5 songs) they were playing Wind's Poem in it's entirety, start to finish. It was absolutely mind blowing.
We all know that a good Kilby show is the best kind of show. An attentive crowd in a tiny shack getting attacked by noise emanating from right in front of their faces- I love it. I really needed that show and it delivered more than expected. I feel refreshed, inspired, and ready to take on more live sets now. Bring it on.