Mark Kozelek Club 9one9, Victoria, BC, February 5
Published Feb 06, 2013We've all had those moments where you meet an incredibly attractive member of the opposite sex and you are completely seduced until they open their mouth. That is similar to an evening with Mark Kozelek. While his lyrics and songs were hauntingly and devastatingly beautiful, his interactions with the audience (which could have been dark humour) came off as arrogant and, at times, rude.
The singer-songwriter, producer and frontman of Sun Kil Moon and Red House Painters took the stage where a small but enthusiastic crowd gathered for Kozelek's first Victoria concert. The seemingly soft-spoken 46-year-old musician quickly commented that he wasn't used to playing for audiences that small.
Club 9one9 had converted itself from downtown nightclub to a sit-down lounge with people sitting around candle lit tables. But Kozelek was quick to notice some seats in front of him were empty, which he responded to by saying "that's inspiring." Obviously, the audience wasn't there for the witty banter, instead hopefully coming for a marathon of Kozelek classics.
As he wove through a collection of songs like "Summer Dress," "Trailways" and Vanilla Sky's "Have You Forgotten," it was easy to get caught up in the darkness of the lyrics.
The main draw to Kozelek's music is his ability to weave together a poetic story that at moments reminds you of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, but after two hours with relief coming only from the awkward moments where he spoke with the audience, the sombre proceedings began to drag.
Touring for 21 years, Kozelek has been around the world, but as he mentioned had never heard of Victoria, and after a day in town, he said he understood why. From a confession that he hadn't rehearsed the set, to an overall feeling that he wasn't enjoying himself and was simply doing a job (he played his last song after saying "I'm sleepy"), the concert lacked the enthusiasm of an enjoyable and memorable performance.