It must be a satisfying feeling to be Sun Kil Moon’s Mark Kozelek, walking on stage and being welcomed by a sold out Lille Vega. Sun Kil Moon has been visiting Denmark regularly during the last couple of years, but his audience is as loyal as ever. The queue in front of the venue snakes its way far down the streets of Vesterbro as the time draws near nine o’clock.
Inside, Mark Kozelek opens the evening accompanied by his drummer, Eric Pollard, with one of his more classical tunes. The sound is so crisp that every tiny movement on the nylon strings cuts directly through the air towards my eardrums. The rest of Kozelek’s band mates joined the duo for the second track, ‘Carissa’ – the mournful but beautiful opener from the band’s latest album, Benji. You wouldn’t think that an album like Benji, with its lyrics about the lives and deaths of Kozelak’s family and friends, would make a hundred people smile and move their hips. But Kozelek is not as grave as you might expect from listening to his music; he’s funny and takes advantage of every break to tell jokes, mostly about sex and getting older. Maybe it’s the date, the 1st of April, that put him in this mood.
”This is a song about the two things I love the most: sex and oral sex.” The introduction for ‘Dogs’ spreads a laugh and the song itself is definitely one of the highlights of the evening. There are a handful of songs in this genre, including ‘Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes’, with a deep bass and a groove that stand out and work as a nice parallel to the quieter songs.
Even though Kozelak is self-deprecating about his getting older, his voice doesn’t show any signs of rust or ageing. His singing is dynamic, and at times you might mistake him for a young chorister rather than a middle-aged indie rock musician. Eric Pollard’s backing vocals lift the arrangements and create sequences of pure and divine singing. The backing band do a good job, but there’s no doubt that Kozelek is the main attraction.
The first part of the show consists mainly newer songs, and is more energetic than the last part, but Kozelek adds new energy at the end as he stands up from his chair. ”I’ve been sitting down too much today” he says, while raising his rigid body with a deeply felt, but also possibly ironic, sigh. After more than two hours the band leaves the stage, but they still manage to meet the loud applause and perform a couple more songs for an encore. Impressively, they aren’t sucked dry of energy, and I don’t think they will be in the near future either.