Monday, June 06, 2011
Brendan Perry and Robin Guthrie in Concert at the Metro
As noted here and tweeted last night, Kate and I were at the Robin Guthrie/Brendan Perry concert last night at the Metro, with Scary Lady Sarah DJing.
We arrived right at 8 pm and Guthrie was just beginning his set. As we entered. We found our friends, as Guthrie stood a corner of the stage (as promised) and video projected on a screen behind a drum set. After the first song the drummer and bassist came on stage. If you aren't familiar with Guthrie's solo work it is all instrumental haunting guitar paining an aural landscape of sound. Guthrie's performance is an immersion experience. Without the attending movie I am not sure I could have sat through the whole set. Yet, it seems to me that the visual projection is in a sense the words to his songs.
As I settled in and let my self take in the performance taking seriously Guthrie's own cue about his live performances, I found the music and video coming together to elicit emotions and thoughts in myself. Thoughts and emotions would be called up and then taking the cue from music and video, move on. It was all very meditative, even at moments transcendent. Guthrie finished his set with a smile and gestures acknowledging us the audience and left the stage. The set and Guthrie's presence elicited the experience of being invited into his musical living room and to just settle down, or wander about, come in and out. We didn't need to give him our entire attention through out, yet we were invited to settle in and listen. But if we took the full invitation then we were transfixed. I can understand some critics of Robin Guthrie who say he is in a sort of musical rut, I could sense that if there wasn't the video projection I'd have gotten tired of the haunting guitar after a few songs, but I have a suspicion we are both supposed to see and hear, Guthrie's music.
Brendan Perry was a parallel but radically different experience. Perry is very present on stage, and he had a full band two keyboards, drums, bass and he on guitar. Perry was giving us a Rock show, and we were to pay attention, and he and the band were riveting and powerful. He began his set with Dream Letter, (I am not sure though he played it early in the set.), and the first song of the encore set was Severance. I heard in this a certain acknowledgement of the significance and transitory short lived nature of the concert. So bounded we were to enter in and be spell bound by our gracious host. The show and Perry's music weave together longing, sorrow, grief, loss and scraps of joy into a great ecstasy. This is what has made and makes Perry in my eyes someone I point to when I wish to describe what is goth and why I find the aesthetic appealing and something with which I wish to identify.
Guthrie and Perry together created a meditative exuberant evening that lead me to contemplate the joy in a life that has happiness, and sorrow, struggle and ease. It was an exquisite evening, one I think I will long remember.