Monday, 22 March 2010

Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra

I went to the academy tonight to see thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra, an experimental band with members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, from Montreal, Canada. It was truly humanistic performance which I've rarely experienced, taking you through heartfelt reflection in beautifully paced verses and kicked out choruses in songs like 'god bless our dead marines', 'There is a light' and 'I built myself a metal bird'.

During the set Efrin Mueck, vocalist and guitarist, made a bold statement about never falling in love with music as it will only break your heart, which was sadly heckled down, he wasn't going to get his point across to this audience.

In an article he wrote for fishpiss magazine, he elaborates, "there was a time I swear there was a time when music belonged to the people, when songs were the things that we made for each other in spite of, prettiest wordings or saddest angriest warblings to pass between us like hugs or handshakes, the sacredest sacrement of peoplehood's dreamings, hopes, resentments & confusions, or like the ringing of chords like perfect bells to smite wicked politicians, judges or occupying armies, or like all the mucky messy mess of our wandering livings here all wrapped around gutstring or torn throat-chords choking on a tuneful rhyming riddle; a thing that belonged to we the people here all strewn across this muddy spinning rock, a fiery spittle-vapour that clung like fog to the cold cold dirt the FREE dirt of this prettiest starving land, hung there like sacred harps in the fog, cradling sweet skinny tubercular babies to dream a little while— A SAVING GRACE that was once and COULD STILL BE AGAIN".

It was fascinating to watch the varied techniques employed by the musicians, how the percussionist used an array of different sticks and brushes to subtly sweep his snare drum and make his high-hats resonate like crystal singing bowls or the way violinist Jessica Moss would sing directly into the pickups of her instrument.

Seeing how much the band truly loved expressing themselves through their music made me think about how I've perhaps fallen a little out of tune in my own work, and should maybe re-evaluate what it is I actually want to do with my talent and skills.

Summed up wonderfully as a slogan on a tshirt I bought after the show "C'mon, persevere ye bright punk-rockers, S.Mt.Z."

If you've never A Silver Mt. Zion, then I strongly recommend trying to catch one of their live shows, I don't think recordings do them full credit.







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