Sun Kil Moon at Saint Luke’s, 21/6/16

A sign informs fans that there’s no support and a prompt start at 8pm when entering Saint Luke’s.

This leads me to think the set might be either fairly long or that the band simply want to be off stage at a reasonable time.

I’m delighted that it was the former of the two, Mark Kozelek informs the audience that he intends to play a five-hour set, with the first hour being comprised of the one song.

It’s not quite five hours, but a three-hour set by Kozelek and co. is still astounding.

As the set is so long there’s a real chance to hear a wealth of Kozelek’s material everything from ‘Garden of Lavender’ from Universal Themes to ‘Glenn Tipton’ from Ghosts of the Great Highway is played including a few stellar covers.

There’s a broad range of covers as well ranging from David Bowie to Judy Garland, an odd choice but Kozelek explains his reasoning behind them both and by applying his trademark style to each of them they feel like they belong in the set.

The atmosphere throughout the performance is strange, looking at footage of Sun Kil Moon prior to this I imagined it would be a fairly moody and brooding experience.

It’s more like Kozelek has invited old friends to his house and there just happens to be a great backing band willing to take requests at the gathering.

However there is a noticeable shift in mood when ‘Richard Rameriez Died of Natural Causes’ is played next to ‘The Possum’, this is more like what I expected from the band however it is fleeting and the mood once again lightens towards the encore of the set.

The absolute highlight of the night however is seeing Kozelek pull up two members of the crowd to perform Sonny and Cher’s ‘I Got You Babe’.

One of them is to duet and the other, a super fan who is absolutely blown away to be sharing a stage with Kozelek, is to hold a smartphone with the lyrics on it.

It’s not long before these roles go out the window and everyone is singing along, Kozelek even can’t help but let out a laugh at the surrealness of the situation we’ve all found ourselves in.

As a last song the band begin ‘This is my first day and I’m Indian and I work at a Gas Station’ with cheers coming from around the room.

For a man painted as a perpetually gloomy antagonist to the rest of American indie rock Mark Kozelek knows how to enjoy himself and show a crowd a good time while doing it.

Words: Phil Allen


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