Monday

In Memoriam

Mount Eerie's was the most low-key show I've ever attended, including those of far less accomplished and well-known artists (see, e.g., this excellent piece in The Atlantic). First off, Elverum was manning his own merch table in the lobby. I wasn't necessarily planning on buying anything, but when I saw that it was him, I kind of felt bad and bought a lovely book of his photos (taken all over the world, but somehow all looking like the Pacific Northwest) and he graciously signed it. Then, although there were unnamed "special guests" slated to perform, he took the stage just an hour after doors, with no opener at all. He played all of Now Only, most of A Crow Looked at Me (though unfortunately not "Soria Moria"), nothing pre-Crow, thanked the audience for "all this attention," and left. We tried to cheer for an encore – which felt slightly odd in that context – but he didn't come back out. I noticed that he was scheduled to play some music festival in Everett, Washington the next afternoon, so perhaps he just wanted to get back down across the border that night? Or maybe he doesn't think his current material lends itself to the ordinary, expected format of the rock concert? (As he humorously, surreally puts it on Now Only's title track: "I made these songs, and then the next thing I knew / I was standing in the dirt, under the desert sky at night / outside Phoenix at a musical festival / that had paid to fly me in to play these death songs to a bunch of young people on drugs / standing in the dust, next to an idling bus / with Skrillex inside and the sound of subwoofers in the distance.") In any case, his deeply understated presence/performance made a more poignant, lingering impression than more of a proper concert-event would have made.