Mount Eerie @ Mojos Bar
w/ Rabbit Island
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Mount Eerie rolled into Fremantle on a warm Sunday evening for the first time since the release of his album, A Crow Looked At Me, an album themed around the untimely death of sole Mount Eerie member Phil Elverem’s wife. A heavy gig was expected and that’s exactly what Mount Eerie delivered to a sold-out, seated Mojos crowd.
First though was local act, Rabbit Island, fresh off a camping trip. Rabbit Island moved between just herself, some reverb and an electric guitar to more dense, layered numbers, looping keys, gadgets and her voice to create electronic soundscapes. It was a fitting choice, harkening back to Elverum’s previous work.
But tonight it was just Mount Eerie and a guitar. He opened with brand new single Distortion, a long song, touching on many stories, but still wrapped in the grief found on A Crow Looked At Me. Distortion moved into Real Death, and the room felt heavier. Elverem’s delivery was beautiful and sorrowful, and it felt awkward to clap given the subject matter. He sings “it’s not for singing about/it’s not for making into art”, and it felt like it wasn’t for clapping about. Yet we did. How else to show appreciation?
Ravens, Forest Fire, Emptiness Pt. 2 and Soria Moria followed. It was hard to watch Elverem, it seemed so brave of him to be able to lay bare all this emotion and detail about his grief. It felt like we shouldn’t be privy to something this private. You could feel the emotion in the room, a stone-cold heavy silence. Next to me someone reached for tissues from a purse, I’m sure they weren’t the only one. Yet it was captivating, and though I knew the songs well, they often sounded like I was hearing them for the first time.
Elverem then played songs from his upcoming album, Now Only. The songs, though still steeped in grief, showed glimmers of hope, some anger, and humour. That humour most noticeable on a track about performing at a festival in Arizona, discussing songwriting with Weyes Blood and Father John Misty and having a crisis leaning against Skrillex’s tour bus. Capturing the absurdity of his grief, it brought laughter and much needed relief from the sadness.
Mount Eerie finished the evening with Now Only’s Tintin in Tibet, a song seeming more for his wife, not just about her. Elverem slipped off stage as quickly and meekly as he had appeared, but to much applause. It was a harrowing and sometimes awkward show. At times I felt more therapist listening to his patient than audience member. But it was certainly special and deeply affective. A concert that won’t soon be forgotten.