A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Camden Electric Ballroom, 23/03/10

On Tuesday evening I was at the Electric Ballroom in Camden to see Canadian post-apocalyptic chamber-rock ensemble Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. I had seen them play the Union Chapel way back in 2001 when they were still a Godspeed You! Black Emperor side project.

On Tuesday their line up consisted of electric guitar, double bass, two violins and drums. The show demonstrated the extent to which they have changed their sound from purely instrumental chamber-post-rock to a louder, song-based sound bordering on alternative rock (albeit a wayward, ragged version).


They opened with ‘I Built Myself A Metal Bird’ which segued into ‘I Fed My Metal Bird The Wings Of Other Metal Birds’, the electric violin playing out jagged, blistering riffs over Efrim’s cracked, raw vocals. ‘There Is A Light’ followed with it’s slow-building accumulations of orchestrated intensity. 'God Bless Our Dead Marines' with its beautiful, closing vocal refrain was a highlight. They closed their main set with an epic version of current album closer ‘Piphany Rambler’ and a spinetinglingly good ‘A Million Died To Make This Sound’. They played ‘Microphones In The Trees’ as an encore. Overall, a very good gig indeed which seemed to get better the longer they played. I got the moments of super-charged intensity that I went there hoping for.

Throughout the set Efrim engaged in occasionally entertaining dialogue with the crowd. His first attempt went something like this:

Efrim: “So, does anyone have anything to say?”
Voice from crowd: “Bring back Godspeed!”
Efrim: “Aww, man....you fuckin’ bring back Godspeed…..it’s not hard….only 4 chords and a looong runway….”

Lots of similar examples (that I can’t quite fully remember) cropped up throughout the evening, including a 'Save 6 Music' shout from a member of the crowd. I don’t remember Efrim being so laconic during his GYBE days...

He dedicated ‘A Million Died…’ to Nina Simone, Joe Strummer & Arthur Lee amongst many others and invited members of the crowd to suggest others. Mark Linkous got a shout as did Alex Chilton (but Efrim failed to hear that one).

Set List

I Built Myself A Metal Bird
I Fed My Metal Bird The Wings Of Other Metal Birds
There Is A Light
God Bless Our Dead Marines
‘Piphany Rambler
A Million Died To Make This Sound

Microphones In The Trees


My pre-gig iPod Playlist:

Tindersticks ‘Falling Down A Mountain’
Vladislav Delay ‘Tummaa’
Nico Muhly ‘Mothertongue’

1 comment:

Sr.Shilo said...

Fantastic. One day I hope to see any of the Efrim projects. Big GY!BE fan and love Mt.Zion... I've listened to God bless our Dead Marines and wow. Makes my heart race. Beautiful.