Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jeff Mangum
(formerly of Neutral Milk Hotel)
Trinity-St Pauls Centre

And when I say 'formerly' I also mean, for the blink of an eye or as long as the career of the chick holding that cd. Never has one artist garnered such a following with so little output. Hint to up-and-coming artists; don't wait until you're famous to disappear, do it when you're almost famous. Check out Jeff Mangum's wiki page to see how one makes a career out of not making a career. Tonight we either get an opus loosely based on Ann Franks experience or some Bulgarian folk festival.

Opening band, Scott Spillane, Laura Carter and Andrew Reiger are apparently parts of the disappeared that were Neutral Milk Hotel or the spawn of NMH, Elf Power and World of Wild Beards. Some in the community are salivating at the chance of a mini-reunion. I got no idea what's going to happen.

Goin' to the chapel and we' far this has been a church tour and if Jeff Mangum is a 'musicians musician' Trinity-St Paul's is a 'churchs church', majestic in design with a 115' high bell tower and an ornate pipe organ. Founded in 1889 it's been a landmark on Bloor West for generations of local Protestants of one sort or another.

Hardcore Milk fans equate seeing Mangum to a religious experience. To bad they didn't call it orgasmic, we could be in a strip bar with some Stella on the table. It's hot as Hades in this place.

So what we get is something closer to Jeff Tweedy than Ron Sexsmith, which isn't bad at all. While it wasn't The Rapture, the fans were rapturous in their attention. The reverence they show for Jeff, from the standing ovation when he comes on stage to do his OCD schtick with the guitars, to the quiet during the performance, testifies to the significance of this evening for artist and fans alike. Closest I've seen to it is the return of Leonard Cohen.

The highlight of the decent opening set was Andrew Reiger's cover of Randy Newman's In Germany Before the War.

Now it would take more time and space for me to tell you about the songs. All I can recommend is listen with open ears. Great vocal work, bizarre lyrics, not easy to absorb first time around.

Jeff sits at the mic to open the show and a young woman cries out, "I missed you" and he replies "but we're together now" before thanking her for the sentiment. He seems genuinely humbled by the adulation as he opens with an 8 minute opus and jumps right into familiar material.

t01 Oh Comely
t02 In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
t03 A Baby for Pree/Glow Into You
t04 Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone

In a talkative mood he asks the crowd if they want to sing along, commenting, "There's some bullshit idea that i don't like people singing along to my songs. Why the fuck did i write them then?"

t05 Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2
t06 I Love The Living You (Roky Ericson)
t07 talk - Question Period

A short tuning break leads to more crowd interaction. Jeff asks if there are questions and after a few exchanges this one; "Are you writing?" Jeff: "I've gone through periods of writing...if something came out of my heart naturally i'd put it out but I'm not going to make another record because of, whatever, all the other bullshit...but thanks for

t08 Ghost
t09 Song Against Sex
t10 Naomi
t11 April 8th
t12 The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1
t13 The King of Carrot Flowers Pt.2 and Pt. 3

Another call out from the audience leaves us with more tour information; "When will you be in Chicago?" Jeff: "I'm being a little slow so i don't burn myself out, next spring maybe."

t14 Holland 1945
t15 encore break

"Thank you so much for coming everybody, here's a beautiful thank you"

t16 Engine