To me, Efrim Manuel Menuck is a genius. His music is some of the most influential stuff I've ever heard. His work with Godspeed You! Black Emperor shaped what is my taste in music today. He made me appreciate things I've never cared about before. So when I heard he was touring with A Silver Mt. Zion, I just had to go and, boy, what a night.
The opening artist was Steve Bates. Never heard of him? Don't worry, most people haven't (hipster victory). Hell, I couldn't even find anything about him on Google. Absolutely nothing. I only knew about him after searching for him on What.cd, which had one of his albums. He plays some ambient drone, kind of similar to Tim Hecker I guess, but maybe a little more experimental. Long build ups, pretty textures, loud sounds. One moment, the feedback was a little too loud, that I kinda hurt my ears, but it was an overall solid performance. He didn't really seem to care that the audience was there, though. He never acknowledged us, or even say a single word. Oh well.
Up next was the main dish, A Silver Mt. Zion. And boy did they come out and play masterfully. I enjoyed their live performance more than their studio recordings. The sound is bigger and better. With his whiny voice, Efrim sang his heart out. They played some of their biggest hits, including "13 Blues for Thirteen Moons" (got it on video, I'll upload it when I get the chance), "Black Waters Blowed", "Blind Blind Blind" and "Horses in the Sky" for the encore. They also played "What We Loved Was Not Enough" and "Psalms 99" from their latest EP. Sophie Trudeau and Jessica Moss are brilliant violin players with beautiful performances. I never noticed it until tonight, but the drumming by David Payant is incredible. We can't forget about Thierry Amar on bass/double bass who also pulls off a great performance.
All these pictures were taken by Paul-Emile Hebert. You can find more stuff here:
Download the entire set here.
Might as well mention this. Efrim is quite the comedian. In between songs, he took questions from the audience. I'm mostly paraphrasing, but here's 2 particular things asked.
"What shampoo do you use?"
Efrim: "Your mom's shampoo. If I get closer, I smell like your mom."
"What's with the Stephen Harper picture?" (If you look at the pics, you can see Harper in a picture frame)
Efrim: "We don't believe in Voodoo or magic, but we keep it upside down in the hopes that he dies." He then received a standing ovation from everyone in the room.