Firstly, I’d like to say how shocked I was upon arriving at the Ruby Lounge to review a show that I wasn’t the only person there. That makes a nice change. This may well be down to the fact that I didn’t actually get there ‘til about the time Mount Eerie (or Phil, as he’s probably known to his friends) took to the stage.
Have you ever witnessed the humblest man in the world play a twelve-string guitar through a series of delay pedals to haunting effect, singing in the style of a hushed Travis Morrison, all the while building up intense-yet-spacious shoegaze soundscapes and meandering from word to word in a stream of semi-conscious thought before abruptly cutting the whole thing off to set up for his next song? Then you’ve probably watched Mount Eerie. One of the most sincere and humble (I can’t stress the ‘humble’ part enough) performances I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. An audience of drone-hungry stoners take a while to warm to it, but eventually they do. Which I think may have been reassuring to a performer almost struggling to come to terms with the action of performing. Wonderfully inclusive and strangely captivating considering that I essentially spent 30 minutes watching a nervous man play a guitar.
I actually only listened to Earth for the first time about four days before I was given the opportunity to review this show although they’d been on my periphery for quite some time, and I’d heard a fair bit about ‘em. From listening to them – and taking into account the pre-hiatus drone-metal leanings – I turned up to the show expecting some heavily layered blues and country infused atmospheric post-rock with leanings of drone and all manner of extended sonic experimentation. Sadly, what I was confronted with was a bare-bones post rock outfit playing one singular blues riff for ten solid minutes at a time. Oh, also there was a cello. Any element of progression I’d heard on record came from good production and arrangement as opposed to obvious intricate and dynamic live musicianship. In places where variations were attempted, it often came off as sloppy and over-thought.
Have you ever listened to something and you know it’s gonna really ‘kick in’ and get great in a second? and when it does you completely understand the dynamic of the section of music that preceded it? It pains me to say that I was waiting for that moment for an hour or so.
No, really, it pains me. It was so frustrating.