Tue 21st July 2009
Support from John Stammers
An entry in the 9hz albums of 2008 with 'April' (I've seen the list even if most of you haven't), I feel justified in reviewing Kozs' most recent trip to the UK despite it being (mostly) very un-rock. First off, if you ever get chance to see a band or live act in St Philips church, go for it. A million miles away from most concert venues, or at least the ones I find myself in far too often, a gig in a church is a fairly impressive experience, even a relatively modern one lacking the domed ceilings and other architecture designed to amplify sound normally found in older churches. Boris must have been epic in here.
The atmosphere was relaxed and Koz wandered out onto the stage a few minutes late but seemingly in good spirits, tolerating the heckles of 'Uncle Joe' which came before he launched into first song 'Glen Tipton' (look, rock!). What hit me instantly was the quality of his guitar playing and obviously, that voice which was note perfect throughout the show as far as I could tell. He seemed a little frustrated with being so far back from the crowd and how bright it was but relaxed once the relevant lightswitch was found, joking with the crowd and even leaving the gig briefly as he'd left his setlist backstage.
The set was split between around 6 Red House Painters songs, 3 from 'Ghosts...' and only 3 from the most recent 'April', a slightly odd choice but credit to Kozelek for giving the crowd what they want to hear instead of just trying to hock his new album. The real suprise was when he began talking about Michael Jackson before covering 'I'll Be There'. Just him and his guitar and pruning the song of the schmaltzier verses, it turned into a genuinely moving lament about unrequited love and was an unexpected highlight of the evening. It all seemed over too soon, and a short encore of 'Things Mean a Lot' (apparently never played live before) and personal favourite 'Blue Orchids' rounded off what, with hindsight, was a fairly substantial set, although the latter boasted one of the evenings only obvious guitar mistakes.
Personally, I would have preferred less RHP songs and more Sun Kil Moon material, never having managed to get into RHP. The total lack of 'Tiny Cities' stuff was also a shame, but with a set this good it was hard to find fault, and there's always 'Lost Verses Live' to put on in the car for familiar live tracks. In all, it was a unique experience and I couldn't have asked for a better introduction to the great mans live shows.