Smile Politely

Show Review: Mount Eerie/The Western Civilization/Mit’n, Caffé Paradiso 10/25/07

I walked into Caffé Paradiso in-between the sets of Mit’n and The Western Civilization. Privacy, the band normally backing up Mount Eerie on the tour, was very sick, but luckily a couple of other concerts were in town, so The WC played an acoustic set before their full-band show later in the night. They played with three acoustic guitars and emotional boy-girl lead vocals. Someone not in attendance would just have to think of Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos, Straylight Run, or Bright Eyes, and they’d get the idea of the type of music being played.

Next, setting up with a projector as his only other band member, Phil Elvrum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, took the stage. He played his whole set alongside rotating slides of various long shots of forests, hillsides, and cliff sides, all with rolling fog that eventually enveloped the entire screen. Hearing the newest material that he is touring for, Mount Eerie Pt. 6 and 7, was great to hear live because the solo live performance has its own life outside of the recorded versions. On the album, the songs are two sonic lo-fi soundscapes of fuzz and percussion injected with the airy plucking and strumming of nylon strings and light piano, but live and stripped down, they, along with the rest of the set, were delicate, poppy, and full of childlike wonder and ecstasy.

Mount Eerie’s music is winding, beautiful, and very affecting—whether attributed to Elvrum’s wiry dreamlike vocals, lucid, nature-themed stream of consciousness lyrics, or offbeat guitar rhythms which play off vocal instrumentation (instead of the other way around).

What Phil Elvrum does in his music is stunning. Great show.

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