Saturday, June 03, 2006
Title:The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-la-la Band
Venue:ABC Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow
Date: 1st June 2006
the silver mt. zion memorial orchestra & tra-la-la band - apparently this was the 80th band that this montreal based band have played. which surprises me. especially since its the third time i've seen them play in glasgow. the first time i saw them i saw them as a frustrated fan of godspeed you black emperor - frustrated in that every time godspeed played i missed them. i enjoyed them a lot. much more than i did godspeed when i finally caught them live.
the first time i saw silver mt. zion was about the release of "born into trouble", their second album. it was before the album came out, so probably 2000-2001. they played king tut's wah-wah hut, with fellow constellation band frank spiro. second time was my birthday in 2004, before the release of the third album "horses in the sky", though they played a lot from the album. that time the support band were someone i can't remember, kind of sums them up. they played the basement of oran mor, a converted church - now restaurant and venue, with painted ceilings by writer alisdair gray.
a few months ago i was making a rare walk past the ABC in sauchiehall street. a fairly new venue, having recently been converted from a derelict cinema that had been sitting empty for the last few years. there i noticed a posted for a silver mt. zion, so next chance i got i grabbed a ticket. so i've been anticipating this gig for a while, keen to see them - because even though i've seen them twice before i enjoyed them a lot.
last night i arrived at the ABC. doors opened 7, i got there about 7.15. i suspected the support band probably wouldn't be up to much, but i would have hated to be proved wrong, so decided to turn up reasonably early. rather than about 9 when i would have perhaps guessed a silver mt. zion might come on. that first hour i was restless as the place filled up and no support band appeared. 8.15 and there was some movement. a band starting to get ready, and as they did so, i recognised them as a silver mt. zion. so. no support band.
they started the set with a couple of tracks from "horses in the sky", then worked through a few new tracks. ranging from the melodic and harmonious to rock out cacophany. my favourite material is the slow stuff, the stripped, raw and melancholic tracks, the ones where all seven members are singing together. its at times like that you know silver mt. zion are a live band - where you can stand there, witnessing the emotion, when you can make out each voice and pick out who it belongs to. of course its still striking when they hit the other end of the spectrum - some of the newer material being rolling rock, more reminiscent of godspeed or the "this is our punk rock" EP - when you can make out the melodies of the violin and cello in amongst the wall of guitars.
a silver mt zion played for two hours, taking their time between tracks, building us up high, bringing us down low. bantering with the crowd, dedicating the performance of new track blind blind blind to sauchiehall street where the gig was held. efrim's voice always carrying through everything. he asks the crowd if everything is good, suggesting that they are an accomodating band and are willing to sort any problems - a voice shouts "get a hair cut", the band and crowd laugh, a moment later the same voice shouts, "only kidding", efrim responds by saying he has had nightmares like this, another voice shouts "so you've been to glasgow before then". they go off, come back on, go off, finishing with another new song - one million died to make this sound. the whole set a mix of post-rock, protest-folk and a little punk rock, energised and powerful.
as i uploaded the photos from the gig i did a quick search, i found a couple of silver mt. zion concerts on the internet archive available for download.- the tracklisting to this french concert on the 1st of may 2006 looks to have been pretty similar to the set we got a month later -
which i'm listening to as i type now. great stuff.
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