Tuesday, November 06, 2007


this is for the lovely gail, she of all the W's. she requested reviews from her autumnal home in decatur. and what lovely wants, lovely gets. so here you are, lovely... my memories and musings from an incredible night...

where the duller "attach bracket A to supporting upright B using bolt F and nut G" run-of-the-mill review
meets the meaning infused, freeflowing straight from the heart, fireside review:

so. imagine us. sitting there, only a few feet from the stage, front and centre. that's cazi, chris, jayne, willow. and me. paul the poet is at the next table and steve toner's behind us. the room is packed. and bar one eejit who was encouraged to leave after a few sshhh-ings (this was for talking loudly between songs!) everyone was there with the absolute intention of listening.

goes without saying, the guitarmanship from kozelek and his accompanying guitarist was stunning. a joy to watch. his voice fragile and sure. we could see every sinew in his hands. only the air and the microphone between us. the initmate air was full of anticipation and expectation. i've never been to a gig like it in belfast. and here we were in a room with a stage that's been so significant in our story of 2007. that experimental deconstructing delusioned stage. that cunt loving feminist stage. that jesus in an orange jumpsuit stage. our stage. and he was on it.

highlights for me:
a beautiful downturn take on San Geronimo.
Trucker's Atlas.
Rock and Roll Singer. almost unbearable. and i have no idea why.
Carry Me Ohio. had me bent double in my seat. sent shivers up my spine that weren't a result of the air conditioning unit above us. air conditioning. in november. in a venue with no heating. tsk.

at the end he tried to leave stage right through the black curtains. finding no way through he climbed down off the front of the stage, where, as the crowd applauded and called for more, he shuffled awkwardly and then turned and got back up again for an encore. he saw the humour in the awkwardness of the moment. and it seemed like a perfectly kozelek moment. a not-sure-where-to-put-yourself moment.

socially awkward when not at home. can't quite fit in or say the right thing when he tries to talk to the crowd. like he's carrying an inept heart on his sleeve. just can't pull off being cool. notices he can't see the room and you're not sure if that's a relief or a shame for him. or maybe both. maybe that's the point. and for a moments in each song he'd lose himself behind closed eyes and the microphone. and yet as each song closes he seems to come back up and perhaps realising he's gonna have to connect without music he just stops playing. brings the fade out to a sudden end. as if he doesn't know how to do anything but an awkward ending. and when he did connect with his eyes, as he spoke and i wondered if i shouldn't be regretting that chris's first place in the queue got us the best seats in the house, it was paralyzing. and i hoped he knew that as i pulled back beneath my cap while aiming at my best if fragile welcoming smile that i (like him?) find the world easier to face when it's in my peripheral vision. that looking another in the eye is daily unbearability. even beauty can be unbearable. it makes you want. and it reminds you of what you had and can't have.
it makes you feel.
when i think of kozelek i think of that adam duritz line, ...all the lovesick rejections that accompany the company i keep...

we know the open parts in us as if they are gaps in the walls in us. that hope and regret sometimes feel intertwined like lovers in us.

when he performs there's no doubt that this is the only thing he knows how to do. born to do.
he'd had dinner in an empty restaurant and wanted to know where he could hang out in this "sleepy" town. said he was tired at the end of the tour. wanted to sit in a dark corner and smoke some blow. but i imagined he wanted it to be the dark corner of a place with people, and life and awakeness. but exist in its peripheral vision. and let it be in his. not have to small talk with it. just melt into the edge of things. or maybe that's me. but it's that feeling, that's kozeleky to me. feeling the inside so much that dealing with the outside is like falling in slow motion on a banana skin...

so many kinds of music fill this world. there's music to fall asleep to, music to wake to. music to work and work out to. music to spin another to, to sway to, throw your hip to. music to throw your body 'cross the room to. to jump to, shimmy to. music to mourn to, cry to. music to remember and regret to, to eat, drink and commune to. to sing to. to drive and scream your lungs out to. to kiss to, fall in love to. make love to. fuck to. create to. birth to. part to. arrive to. desire to. hope and wish to.

and there's the music to be to. to dwell in and feel to. to reflect and imagine to.
and the music that reaches down like a tender fist inside of you. it's sacred. music to be religiously human to. to commit to. to be yourself to. to be nothing less than fucking real to.

when i hear his voice and his hands i think of what it means to be human... to want to be safe... of the weight of being human... of wanting an elusive simplicity of emotion... so much of what he sings is about other places, other times... as if what is desired, wanted, loved, regretted is somewhere else... a catalogue of departures... as if joy exists in another room... real and remembered...but elsewhere... held at a distance... as if love is easier to deal with when it's gone... that loving is someone being your everything and to lose it is to lose everything... despair, loss, confusion are all sung of without the mask of metaphor... all straight up confessions of the void...

his music speak to life hard won. trust hard won. and defiance. survival. in living by telling. revealing the inner story with honesty that's so often uncomfortable but not being able to do it any other way... it's beautiful. he leaves me feeling an emotion that can't be pinned down... but the feeling is as deep as it is diffuse... these bittersweet recollections are a gift... honesty deserving an honest witnessing...

CARRY ME OHIO (mark kozelek; god forbid publishing (BMI))
sorry that
i could never love you back
i could never care enough
in these last days

her tears fell
on her pages
found me well on her words
i don't know what to do or say

wading through
warm canals and pools clear blue
Tuscarawas flow into
the great lake

back where the highway met dead tracks
ground that's now cement and glass
so far away

heal her soul
and carry her, my angel

green green youth
what about the sweetness we knew
what about what's good, what's true
from those days?

can't count
to all the lovers i've burned through
so why do i still burn for you?
i can't say

sorry that
i could never love you back
i could never care enough
in these last days

heal her soul
and carry her, my angel

sorry for

never going by your door
never feeling love like that

heal her soul
and carry her angel

children blessed
gather round the home she rests
so poor and cold in their midwest
moon and sun

flashes bringing on
my open eyes to lightning storm
the touch of mist felt soft, felt warm
on my face

graving dreams
a million miles ago you seem
the star that i just don't see

words long gone
lost on journeys we walked on
lost her voice is heard along
the way

sorry that
i could never love you back
i could never care enough
in these last days

heal her soul
and carry her, my angel


this post was written with the musical accompaniment of little drummer boy - live. available on Caldo Verde Records.
* from trucker's atlas. lyrics by Modest Mouse. 'covered' by Sun Kil Moon on Tiny Cities.


  1. blew me away sister, fucking blew me away! x

  2. hey soul brother

    how the hell are ya?
    hope things are good in your world.

    muchos love,


  3. fuck.
    i came all the way to decatur to miss a spellbinding, beautiful, broken, belfast kozelek gig.


    he's a broken jar; i love what seeps out from between the cracks where love and loss meet.
    glad you got to hear the drips first hand.
    thanks for the review, lovely.
    g. x

  4. doing ok thanks crazy beautiful one....

    i see you have our wild lovely jude with yee in your fair city.....jealous

    ps, did you say you had a post-Gb piece in the making?