A night with Sun Kil Moon

Last Friday I spent two hours in company of Mark Kozelek and his Sun Kil Moon as he played a show here in Prague. Being a big fan of his music about to see him for the first time, I rushed down the Wenceslav boulevard with butterflies in my stomach – indeed, I felt like a kid who has just arrived in town to see his favorite artist – scanning the street corners for Mark and his band. Strangely, I had a hunch he could be around and guess what. When I popped in a wine bar just inside Lucerna passage, there he was sitting with his keyboard player nibbling at some bread. He gave me a glance which could be translated like: “Hey young fella, seems you recognize me, huh? OK, guess it´s time to take off…”, and before I managed to order, harass him and ask him to sign on my belly, he was gone. I sipped the wine and my legs felt like when I used to ask girls out on the street.

And then there was the show, which turned out to be completely different from what I expected. No acoustic guitars, let alone Spanish one I longed to see him strum, no songs from Admiral Fell Promises – would I play a difficult song from five year old album? – guitar parts being played on keyboard, the band playing the same and so on. I think I have an issue with songwriters who tour with a band in order not having to play their instrument. When he sang Frank Sinatra song, I was seriously questioning myself whether to leave the venue.

But then, in between long and ponderous songs from Universal Themes, Mark began to speak, crack witty jokes, quarrel friendly with the audience and talk about his life, and it was so genuine and hillarious that he grabbed everyone´s attention for the rest of the evening. I felt kinda guilty when I caught myself wishing the song to finish to give way to another Mark´s talking, but it was the reality of the night. And It was a surprise and a relief to see the man who writes such emotional and intense music to unveil his personality in such manner, make fun of himself and turn the show into I-will-play-some-sad-songs-but-mostly-this-will-be-a-stand-up-comedy sort of thing, which, to be utterly honest, is a remarkable achievement to me.