100 Shows of 2010 - #25: Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra @ Black Cat, 5/19/10

‘Twas my second time seeing the Montreal-ians of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra live and in living color. At All Tomorrow’s Parties 2008, they were great, and made my tipsy little heart so very happy. At the Black Cat, they were just as great. And I made sure not to sneak in a flask of homemade happy juice, just to make damn sure.

MINI RECAP: Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra = Hallelujah havoc! Overall score: B+.

They began with “I Built Myself a Metal Bird”, from that fantastic new record of theirs, Kollapz Tradixionales. Immediately nice and loud, the song full of tumbling textures and drowsy with drone. Things got a bit haunting, almost eerie towards the end of the song, the violins sending shivers down my spine. It was one of many glorious musical clusterfucks the band would spew out on this night. The combined “Metal Bird” with the song that follows it on the record, “I Fed My Bird The Wings Of Other Metal Birds”, which made for one heck of an epic soundscape.

Continuing to highlight new material, the band then launched into “There Is A Light”, the slow molasses of the intro seeming even more spiritual than on record. The fairly attentive crowd was huddled in attentive silence, reverently enraptured by the loveliness of the introduction. But of course, this is Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra here, and so it doesn’t stay quiet for long. The song soon builds to a noisy wall of climaxing sound, violin managing to temper the storm of the explosive loudness somehow, some way. Soon, the harsh outburst is replaced with more relative quietude. And then, nearly twenty minutes later, it’s done and the crowd claps heartily.

Also included in the set was “God Bless Our Dead Marines”, the plucking of the upright bass somehow making me think of good old Macbeth, and those witchy sisters proclaiming, “Something wicked this way comes”. It felt almost raw, this song, unraveled even. I’d liken their affinity for such rambling songs to those people who run away on totally random tangents whilst telling a story about something totally different. And yet, unlike those distracted storytellers, the result with TSMZMO is incredibly awesome.

There was even an encore, “Microphones In The Trees”, jagged guitar battling the angelic violin. It was transfixing, not just this particular song but their whole set. Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra make devilishly daring music, loud and twisted and deformed and alive. And to see them in the flesh is an experience not to be missed. The band might be of the opinion that “Canada does not rule”, but I would beg to differ. At least, as it applies to bands, that is.

mp3: There Is A Light (Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra from Kollapz Tradixionales)


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