I'm in a bit of a funk. The Akron/Family performance on Tuesday night just blew me away. I even liked Michael Gira's follow-up set as I think they're a perfect band to offset his bluesy wierdness. I think I'm in a funk because I can't find the mere words to describe the awesomeness of their performance - I'm kind of in the state of mind where I know I witnessed something special but I can't remember it so much to put it into words - I'll defer to the previous posting which had a link to a show review from Atlanta.
Some things about Gira and his Angels of Light: He is, as usual, much better live. In his recordings, I've always seen him as the Keanu Reeves of singing - you always get the feeling that he's too self-concious and self-critiquing himself as he sings rather than just clearing the mind and singing from the soul. Although I have to admit his new album (with A/F in backup) he seems to be overcoming that issue (it still crops up here and there). There is something surreal about seeing Gira after so many years. Putting it into Tolkeinspeak, back then he reminded me of a terrible wraith-like spirit - now he seems like a civilized squat ogre (and I don't mean this disparagingly)
Notes on his performance:
- Overall it was great - like I said, he is better live especially when the audience (as DC audience are) is grateful and supportive
- Refers to DC as a place that he always thought "smells" and makes obligatory slag on our most famous "resident" and the town calling him a "turd in a turd bowl"
- It's still 20 years ago but he slags "straight-edge" and "hardcore" which he says, perhaps with some truth behind his words, that "I hate hardcore because it killed all that was bad about punk."
- At one point he finished tuning his guitar and then realized he had tuned it to a SWANS song so he played a few bar chords from one of their songs and the band picked it up right away. There were no SWANS covers, though and the crowd felt in on the joke.
- During the second to last song, he unconciously starts fondling himself through his pants - now we know what he means by Michael's white hands (not that there's anything wrong with that).
- He announced he was getting married soon. The crowd clapped and he asked why are they clapping as he feels he is about to be "castrated."
- Overall sound - or at least obvious references were a mixture of the best of live, loud Velvet Underground, Devendra, Nick Cave and even at times references to Swans with one or two songs climaxing in a noisy monotonous Laibach march. Best songs were "Destroyer" (a great protest song), "Song for Lena" (he described it as his only pop song although I think "On the Mountain" could be reworked into a country hit) and "My Sister Said" (a murder song)... they did one cover, an obscure song by Dylan - "I Pity the Poor Immigrant" which really seems to fit the current portfolio of the band. I really liked his opening song "To Live Through Someone" which he also did as a soundcheck. It's perhaps his most "Devendra" influenced song and Akron/Family really help in the explosive second part of the song.
Uncommon Folk is a recommended newish MP3 blog reviewed and posted a song from Angels of Light's new record. He likes the female backing vocals (which I believe are the work of Akron/Familites...) Go here to check it out.