Monday, January 14, 2013

Positive Milk Hotel

This past Saturday Lizzy Courtois and I attended Jeff Mangum's show at the Redford Theater. Folk/indie outfits the Briars of North America and Tall Firs opened for the former Neutral Milk Hotel frontman.

These opening acts were a little inoffensively maundering for my taste, but I could see someone in a plaid shirt somewhere liking them. The four-man outfit Briars played some soulful songs with (at times) haunting vocals and just a little bit of noise thrown in. I can't comment on the Tall Firs because I was in the beer line during their set (on purpose).

Mangum himself was energetic and genuine with the crowd, opening with Two Headed Boy, working his way through the Neutral Milk Hotel catalogue, and peppering the performance with unpublished and lesser-known tracks. Jeremy Thal from the Briars joined him on stage for a few of the songs, chiming in with his trumpet and French horn.

The venue was a little off: the Redford Theater was built in the '20s and features a pagoda-like facade around the stage with a faux night sky painted on the ceiling. The show was also seated, so the audience's energy was constrained in a weird and not pleasant way. This also made the openers more soporific than they might have in a general admission venue. I'd go there to see something like the Hitchcock festival the theater recently hosted, but I wouldn't see a concert there again.

Sadly, Mangum confirmed that he would not be producing another studio album. On the bright side, though, he has a totally bitchin' beard right now.

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