Nick Krgovich's Solo R&B Jams Kinda Steal the Show from Mount Eerie Last Night at Chop Suey

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41573_18449298923_5097_n.jpg
Most of these tiny people performed last night
Mount Eerie, Nick Krgovich

Chop Suey

Thursday, October 7

I've seen local legend Phil Elverum/the Microphones/Mount Eerie

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Nick Krgovich's Solo R&B Jams Kinda Steal the Show from Mount Eerie Last Night at Chop Suey

  • Nick Krgovich's Solo R&B Jams Kinda Steal the Show from Mount Eerie Last Night at Chop Suey

  • ">

    41573_18449298923_5097_n.jpg
    Most of these tiny people performed last night
    Mount Eerie, Nick Krgovich

    Chop Suey

    Thursday, October 7

    I've seen local legend Phil Elverum/the Microphones/Mount Eerie play a ton of times, but I don't think I'd ever seen him play at a bar before last night. It's always been at all-ages spaces--teen centers or house shows or the occasional big theater--and somehow I think that makes a difference. Last night, for the first time, Mount Eerie's show just felt like business, just a last, tired tour stop before heading home from the road. The band went on early, played an abbreviated set (even after the small audience successfully haggled for another song), and packed it up. And whereas a crowd that size in the Vera Project's (similarly sized) show room might have still projected a spirit of reverent hush, here people were chattering in the bar (myself included at times, sorry), and the turn-out didn't make you feel like you were part of something small yet special but rather that you were just at a sort of unsuccessful show. Or maybe I'm just bummed because he never plays any of the old songs anymore.

    I get that artists have to grow and evolve and all that, and I respect that it's their choice to play whatever they want--and I even really like a lot of the places that Elverum's wandering has taken him in more recent years (the whole "wooden black metal" thing, say)--but Elverum moves on with more finality than most, seemingly burying entire eras of songwriting as he creates new ones. Maybe it's because his songs are so deeply personal, but it's a shame--he's built this whole solipsistic-yet-expansive universe of song, but he only ever seems interested in the latest additions. So, last night, you get a set of basically only songs from about 2008 on (nothing much predating Lost Wisdom), ably played, with Elverum on guitar flanked by No Kids' Nick Krgovich and Julia Chirka on gauzy/glassy '80s synthesizers or the occasional marimba sound. "No Inside, No Out" was one older song, and it was a highlight, as was "Log in the Waves" and the Twin Peaks theme-interpolating "Between Two Mysteries." Still, I would have killed for some older jams--and not necessarily like "The Moon" or whatever, but even just something from, say, Black Wooden Ceiling Opening. Ah well, it is dumb to hold so tight, right? (Sorry.)

    More encouraging than the headliner's set was Nick Krgovich's own solo performance beforehand. The No Kids singer played keys and sang along to frequently spare preset rhythm tracks in his unusually rich and elastic croon, doing a set of Arthur Russel-meets-Teddy Riley R&B. On one song, he sang through three different microphone treatments: one clean, one run through maybe some kind of octave/harmonizer effect, and then one through a talkbox tube into a keyboard, for that proto-AutoTune/Vocoder effect. He played the No Kids' aching "Bluster in the Air" with only snapping instead of the original's more robust rhythm. In further Twin Peaks-iness, he closed with what he identified as a cover of a David Lynch song. In an alternate universe, Krgovich is a pop songwriter superstar, and perhaps in our own universe, he's inching slowly in that direction--last night, he performed without his usual Coke-bottle glasses, and it was a Superman sort of transformation, revealing that Krgovich can actually cut kind of a heartthrobby profile, and beyond that, several of his new songs seemed to touch on a romantic popstar dream of L.A., with lyrics about the Hollywood hills sign and the Santa Ana winds. Maybe he's down there knocking out some future #1s as we speak.

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