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REVIEW: Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra @ Mississippi Studios (Portland, OR – 2/4/12)

6th Feb 12 (Mon) Leave a comment

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

Montreal’s Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra appear to have an identity crisis.  They’ve been known as A Silver Mt. Zion, The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-La-La Band with Choir, and Thee Silver Mountain Reveries.  For short hand, I’ll simply refer to them as Silver Mt Zion.  I’ll admit, I am new to their music… I got into them via ambient post-rock giants Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who share three members with Silver Mt Zion (singer/guitarist Efrim Menuck, violinist Sophie Trudeau, and bassist Thierry Amar).

More on Silver Mt Zion later…

The opener was a one-man band called Total Life.  He played a 25-minute, ambient/drone guitar & loop set (his clear guitar to the right).  It had a slow burn, then quickly morphed into a wall of sound.

For most opening gigs, this would not do, but for a post-something crowd, Total Life’s 25 minute experiment showed the audience’s patience and respect.  All bundled up, he was barely moving making the sounds, but sweat started dripping down his forehead and nose until the final note.

While GY!BE tend to stay in the ethereal, ambient, sweeping post-rock movement, Silver Mt Zion are a little more difficult to pin down.  They have many components similar to GY!BE, but they definitely write more in a “song” vein, with vocals.  Yet, I wouldn’t call them a singer-songwriter troupe.  The first two “songs” alone clocked in at 35 minutes.  They sweep, they go places, come back.  The vocals sometimes have choruses, and sometimes it more resembles lofty prayers… to whom? I do not know.

Their label describes their influences as “free jazz, community sight-singing, Minimalism and American folkways – still anchored to a punk-rock take on neo-classical and modern music tropes.”  If that narrows it down for you, well, you’re more forgiving of “genre-fication” than I.  Whatever you want to call them, they made great music on Saturday night at Mississippi Studios in Portland.

Setlist: about 90 minutes

  • 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
  • There Is A Light
  • What We Loved Was Not Enough
  • Black Waters Blowed / Engine Broke Blues
  • Take Away These Early Grave Blues
  • Blind, Blind, Blind
  • Horses In The Sky
  • Encore: God Bless Our Dead Marines

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

They only have a select number of dates on this tour.  Definitely go see them if you have the chance!  Check out more tour dates below.

Next shows for me… back-to-back Secret Chiefs 3 & Dengue Fever co-headlining in both Eugene (2/6 WOW Hall) and Portland (2/7 Dante’s).

~Dan – np: John ZornFilm Works IX: Trembling Before G-d

THEE SILVER MT ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2012 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

Thee Silver Mt Zion — 2012 Jan/Feb Tour Dates

  • 31.01.12 Calgary, CAN The Republik
  • 02.02.12 Vancouver, CAN The Rickshaw Theatre
  • 03.02.12 Seattle, USA The Crocodile
  • 04.02.12 Portland, USA Mississippi Studios
  • 06.02.12 San Francisco, USA Great American Music Hall
  • 07.02.12 Santa Ana, CA, USA Constellation Room
  • 08.02.12 Los Angeles, USA Troubadour
  • 09.02.12 San Diego, USA Casbah
  • 10.02.12 Tucson, USA Club Congress
  • 12.02.12 Dallas, USA Sons of Hermann Hall
  • 13.02.12 Austin, USA The Mohawk
  • 14.02.12 New Orleans, USA One Eyed Jacks
  • 15.02.12 Birmingham, USA Bottletree
  • 16.02.12 Cincinnati, USA MOTR Pub
  • 17.02.12 Buffalo, USA Soundlab
  • 18.02.12 Ottawa, CAN First Baptist Church
  • 19.02.12 Montreal, CAN La Tulipe
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REVIEW: Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ Crystal Ballroom (Portland, OR – 2/18/11)

19th Feb 11 (Sat) 13 comments

GYBE-evaphoto

Video flickers “hope” on loop. Slow build with piercing tones presumably of guitar mixed with cello & screams in the violin pickups. The vapors turn into steam, the bowing more frantic, random percussive shakes. Eight minutes, the first hits on a high hat. The steam now turning into an impending waterfall. “Hope” still flickers. The impending waterfall never comes. The sounds fall away into sweepy hallways.

Clean guitars, gentle malleted vibes, as the guitar soars upwards with the violins. The screen text and numbers jumble. The pace expands and explodes, then stabilizes. Guitars are the backbone, the drums brisk, the xylo/vibes, on the other hand, are furious. Gasping. Grasping. They’re trying to escape. The drums take over, the other players fall to the side. A stringed étude tucks it away.

Violin warming up, workshop hammering percussion until the sounds become like a train leaving the station. This one built quicker than the prior pieces. More Mogwaian versus Sigurrósient. Churning turns into hints of melodic keys. Maybe they were just car keys… it’s turned more into a tumultuous rock instrumental.  Rush.

That was the first forty minutes. The rest of Godspeed You! Black Emperor‘s two-plus hour set was full of highs and lows, and all the things that make post-rock so wondrous and confounding. Sweeping movements with The Anatomy of Melancholy text and images flashing above the band’s heads. I think sprinting away from convention is what makes this music so magical. Shying away from the press definitely adds to the mystery.

Setlist: (thanks Jason & others)

  • Hope Drone
  • Moya
  • Albanian
  • Monheim
  • Dead Metheny
  • (unknown)
  • 09-15-00 (outro)
  • Chart #3
  • World Police & Friendly Fire
  • Gathering Storm
  • Blaise Bailey Finnegan III (aka BBF3)

Sorry for no photos from the show… t’was too packed, dark and I decided to hang back and enjoy anyway.  My opinion of the opener in the comment section.

The Appropriate Linkage:

Check out more tour dates below.

Next show for me… Nik Barstch’s Ronin as part of Portland Jazz Fest next weekend.

~Dan – np: EarthAngels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

Godspeed You! Black Emperor Tourdates

February 2011
16 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Vogue Theatre
17 – Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox at the Market
18 – Portland, Ore. @ Crystal Ballroom
20 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Great American Music Hall
21 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Great American Music Hall
23 – Los Angeles, Calif @ Music Box at the Henry Fonda

March 2011
16 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Masonic Temple
17 – New York City, N.Y. @ Church of St. Paul the Apostle
19 – Philadelphia, Penn. @ Trocadero
20 Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
22 – Athens, Ga. @ 40 Watt Club
24 – Nashville, Tenn. @ Cannery Ballroom
26 – Chicago, Ill. @ Metro
27 – Chicago, Ill. @ Metro
29 – Detroit, Mich. @ Majestic Theatre

Godspeed You! Black Emperor tours again…

22nd Sep 10 (Wed) Leave a comment

Post-rock giants Godspeed You! Black Emperor is doing a short tour after their All Tomorrow’s Parties reunion gig (December 2010)… I’m hoping to catch the Portland show in February…

February 2011
16
– Vancouver, British Columbia @ Vogue Theatre
17
– Seattle, Wash. @ Showbox at the Market
18
– Portland, Ore. @ Crystal Ballroom
20
– San Francisco, Calif. @ Great American Music Hall
21
– San Francisco, Calif. @ Great American Music Hall
23
– Los Angeles, Calif @ Music Box at the Henry Fonda

March 2011
16
– Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Masonic Temple
17
– New York City, N.Y. @ Church of St. Paul the Apostle
19
– Philadelphia, Penn. @ Trocadero
20
Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
22
– Athens, Ga. @ 40 Watt Club
24
– Nashville, Tenn. @ Cannery Ballroom
26
– Chicago, Ill. @ Metro
27
– Chicago, Ill. @ Metro
29
– Detroit, Mich. @ Majestic Theatre

~Dan – np: Nellie McKayGet Away From Me

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