Sun Kil Moon, SWG3, Glasgow
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At the age of 47, Mark Kozelek is having the year of his life. A "hit" album (Benji), bounteous publicity through his ongoing feud with The War On Drugs and the discovery of an apparently bottomless seam of creativity - transcribing the minutiae of his life into diaristic song - have transformed his fortunes.
Not before time, you might say. A friend of and collaborator with Low, Will Oldham and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley among others, aside from the tenacity with which Sun Kil Moon's ringmaster has clung to his craft across two decades of musicmaking, on tonight's evidence a stout disregard for convention is what elevates the San Francisco-based songwriter above his peers.
Exhibit A: a £25 ticket with no support act. Sounds grim, right? But after three hours of sublime music (much of it accompanied by a drummer plucked from the crowd and handed £200 for his efforts) and wise-guy repartee - Jackie Mason meets Joe Pesci - such a price-tag looks like the deal of the century.
Exhibit B: Sun Kil Moon confound expectation. Kozelek frequently plays a floor tom and snare, delegating the reproduction of his signature chordal mastery to pianist Chris Connolly and guitarist Nick Zubeck, who cope equally well with renditions of The Christmas Song, Little Drummer Boy and I Got You Babe, on which a randomly selected female ticketholder takes on Cher's role.
Much of Benji is fed through a decelerative filter, monged and drawn out for maximum gravitas. And lo and gadzooks, Kozelek has the temerity to light up a cigarette, as punk rock as live acts get these days.
An exceptional show to cap an exceptional year, all told.