Wednesday, November 4, 2009

monsters of folk

So Monday night brought our long line of Massey Hall concerts to an end and even though I'm bummed there'll be no more concert trips for awhile, I'm pumped that we ended it all with such brilliance. Amazing in their respective solo careers, these guys leap up into a whole other musical stratosphere when they play together. I spent the entire show either furiously toe-tapping, chair-swaying, frozen in stillness or wiping wet eyes. A show 6 years in the making it really was a stellar show and in standard C.Y.G.T.S style, here are the bullet points saying why"

  • They played 29 songs -- 29 songs?!?! Talk about getting your money's worth;
  • They played Say Please 3 songs into the set, my fave song off the album;
  • They switched from M.O.F songs to solo performances of their own stuff -- what a bargain for us concert-goers!!
  • M Ward playing solo, but mostly his jaw-dropping performance of One Hundred Million Years. Talk about one guy on guitar sounding like 10. He can do stuff on a guitar that is actually physically impossible I think. And what a song to pick...
  • Jim James picking Golden as his solo song -- somebody read my "I Hope They Play This" list;
  • Marc's fave song on the record - Ahead of the Curve -- they played the shit out of that song and filled every space in that hall with the notes in that chorus;
  • Mike Mogis playing pedal steel - insanity.
  • Conor Oberst played a stripped down We Are Nowhere and it's Now -- a song that kills me at the best of times but, once last fall, brought me to my knees. Just one of those moments with just one of those songs. Hearing it live brought it all rushing back - bittersweet but still beautiful to hear.
  • M Ward going back and busting out stuff from 2003's "Transfiguration of Vincent" record;
  • M Ward being the Kelly Hogan to Jim James' Neko Case. If ever two male voices went together, it's these two...
  • Hearing Jim James' echoey haunting voice come out of nowhere and fill up that hall. He was like a ghost. Nobody "Ah-woooooos" like Jim James...
  • Being super suprised to hear At the Bottom of Everything -- one of my faves off that record -- made me really extra bummed I missed his Massey Hall show not too long ago. He just performs with such kickassitude!!
  • Ending the show with Losin' Yo Head and busting it out full-on My Morning Jacket style - I was about ready to bust out of my seat.

If I had bad things to say, it's this:
  • How could they not have played Temazcal?? Bummer....
  • They only did one encore -- okay I know they played 29 songs but come on.....and the encoure was His Master's Voice -- kind of a snoozer to end with.
  • the oppresive heat in Massey Hall - please God let someone one day figure out the HVAC in that place...
  • the super boring M.O.F tshirts. As a merch fan, I was disappointed.

And okay, let's deal with this Travelling Wilburys thing -- every reviewer under the sun is using the phrase "this generation's Travelling Wiburys." Just because some solo guys get together and make a record doesn't make them the Travelling Wilburys. Although the fact that Conor and M Ward both played on Jenny Lewis' version of Handle Me With Care doesn't help anything I guess. Nor does this generation need a Travelling Wilburys -- the TWs can be their TWs I say. Bottom line for me is that although the TW's are made up of bigger "legends" (the MOF guys aren't at that stature yet --- note I said yet) I really do think the MOF record is better as a whole than both the TW records. They're just better songs -- come on, you can't tell me The Wilbury Twist is still a song you genuinely think is a great song? We all love End of the Line and I still think Handle Me With Care is a kickass song (and am secretly happy when someone covers it), I love their Rattled cover and have a soft-spot for Roy's Not Alone Anymore.

But this album is just plain better. Not to mention these guys are also way cuter than the TWs. So come on music journalists, put on your thinking caps and let's come up with another comparison shall we?

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