Last Night Scattered Ashes Gather Asking Where the Fire Went
posted by April 18 at 13:03 PMon
Why?, Mount Eerie @ the Vera Project
This is probably embarrassing, but fuck it: All day yesterday I felt like I was about to break down and cry. I couldn’t even begin to tell you why. I had three drinks after work and felt better. I put a xanax in my pocket in case feeling better wore off and headed to the Why?/Mount Eerie show at the Vera. But feeling better didn’t wear off, even after the alcohol. The pill’s still in my pocket right now. Mount Eerie and Why?: better than prescription drugs!
Mount Eerie played a set backed by a slanted projection of slow-moving scenes from Anacortes (the fog, the mountains, the refinery, the moon) and accompanied by Julie Doiron and another musician whose name I missed. The room was crowded but quiet (I’ve never seen the Vera so packed, or for that matter so still). They played a lot of unfamiliar songs, apparently written and recorded by Elverum and Doiron in just the past week. They had one large sheet of paper with their lyrics written down on it, and between songs they would fold, flip, and search the sheet for their next song.
“What’s all the underlines,” asked Doiron at one point. “Oh, you do this one.”
“This is what it’s like to be in a band. This is how the magic happens.”
There was a song about “lost wisdom,” a song about a swan, the crushing, myth-deflating “Let’s Get Out of the Romance.” Everything sounded much more classically folky than Elverum’s solo performances, with hushed, tuneful harmonies between him and Doiron and restrained multiple acoustic guitars strumming.
“Oh, this one has a similar theme,” said Doiron between songs. “It starts with the same line.”
“That was Who?, this is What?, up next is Why?,” added Elverum. Doiron quoted a friend who’s fond of saying, “What happens next stays next.”
The hushed crowd laughed appreciatively at every mumbled half-joke, the sparks from the refinery glowed on wall overhead, the ceiling and walls were pitch black.
Why? happened next. Fuck. I just lost a half hour of writing by accidentally navigating away from this page. Here’s a setlist instead:
The Vowels, pt. 2
These Few Presidents
Song of the Sad Assassin
Yo Yo Bye Bye
A Sky For Shooting Horses Under
Gemini (Birthday Song)
By Torpedos or Crohns
And a highlight reel: perfect quiet harmonies on “Good Friday;” Josiah killing it on drums and xylophone; the extended outro on “the Hoofs;” the mic feedback on the line “I was walking through San Antonio before sound check” and stretched bass on “Yo Yo Bye Bye;” the anecdote about meeting Fishbone brought on by Yoni’s botching the word “wishbone” on “Rubber Traits;” the pitch-bent guitar and mumbled second chorus on “the Hollows” (by far their song that comes most dangerously close to “rap rock” with its distorted guitar breakdown); the live whistling on “Gnashville;” Yoni’s voice sounding thin on “Crushed Bones;” Doug McDiarmid nailing the demanding keyboard arpeggio of “A Sky for Shooting Horses Under;” the fake-out shit talk leading up to the hair-raisingly awesome “Gemini (Birthday Song).”