Wednesday, February 21, 2007

SparkleHorse @ First Avenue Last Monday!!!!

Photos courtesy of Sparklehorse Myspace Page

Once again another big thanks to Erik for covering another review. I've been in L.A. the past 5 days so this show would of been imposible to cover. Here it is.

How nice it is to go to a show with a group of friends, talking and laughing the entire time, but once the band hits the stage, to stop cold and become completely entranced by the performers before you. That was indeed the case for me at Monday’s wonderful, albeit brief, Sparklehorse show at First Avenue. And, thankfully, that was also the case for the rest of the crowd. Quiet, respectful adoration was shown to Mark Linkous and his traveling band of reprobate’s (four of them, in fact: Paula Jean Brown (Giant Sand) on bass, Chris Michaels on keyboards, guitar, and various other noisemakers, drummer Johnny Hott, and another keyboardist that at this point remains unknown.) And as the notoriously reclusive Linkous became more comfortable on stage, the music became that much more enthralling. Going into the show, I was hoping for more of the rocking songs from the band’s back catalogue, and we got some of those-namely, ‘Hammering The Cramps’ and ‘It’s Not So Hard,’ but it was the softer more atmospheric numbers that really stood out for me, surprisingly, like ‘Applebed’ ‘Eyepennies(sadly without collaborator P.J. Harvey on backing vocals-wishful thinking I guess) and encore ‘Gold Day.’ For someone that essentially plays all the instruments on the band’s recorded work, Mark seemed quite comfortable with his backing band handling some of the lush orchestration on the songs, so much so that he stuck to electric guitar for nearly all of the night (except to play keys on the beautiful piano driven ‘Getting It Wrong’ which he claims is ‘really hard to sing.’) Considering it has been over 5 years since Mark has released an album, and even longer since he’s played Minneapolis, it was quite a treat to have him share his heartfelt songs with us. And even more of a treat was being in the merch line after the show to purchase the excellent show poster (designed by local guys Aesthetic Apparatus), and have Mark Linkous himself sit down on a stool and sign the poster and the vinyl (of the excellent new album ‘Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain’) for me. I thanked him for the amazing show, telling him I hoped that it will not be so long until the next one, wished him well and shook the man’s hand that until tonight had just been a voice in my headphones. A culmination of a sublime evening that my friends and I were talking about (now that we were talking again) all the way home.

Erik T.