Review: Wovenhand and Michael Gira at the Oriental Theater, 3/24/12

Categories: Last Night

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Jim Narcy
David Eugene Edwards at the Oriental Theater this past Saturday night.


WOVENHAND @ ORIENTAL THEATER | 3/24/12

One song into Saturday night's set at the Oriental Theater and Michael Gira told the crowd, "Okay, shut up. Shut the fuck up. Time to shut up." He'd opened with brooding and droning "Jim" from Swans' latest effort, 2010's My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, and while the people near the stage looked focused, there was talking in the back of the venue. A few more songs into his brilliant and intense hour-long set, which included Swans, Angels of Light and solo material, Gira got a bit fired up again at the crowd.

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Jim Narcy
Michael Gira at the Oriental Theater.

He played a few bars of "Blind," stopped and said, "I can't do this song. Shut the motherfuck up or go in the other room. Hey, what the fuck are you? Raised in the fucking barn, you animal? Shut the motherfucking fuck up. I can't even hear myself. If you came here for the other band go in the other room for now. Unbelievable. Why don't you look at Pitchfork or something?"

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Jim Narcy
Michael Gira at the Oriental Theater.

That seemed to work, and the crowd hushed, which was a good thing since Gira's lyrics and vocals demand attention. In the solo setting, Gira's lyrics become much more prominent. That's all you really to focus on versus when he's performing with Swans or Angels of Light, his project with Akron/Family. Lines like "Well it's hard to get air when your neck is a fist" or "As your body drifts by and your lungs fill with mud," just seems to have stand out more when it's just Gira and an acoustic guitar.

After "My Birth," Gira said Swans are finishing their new album, which he said will be released as a two-CD set and as triple LP. Gira also added that Al Sparhawk and Mimi Parker from Low and the Akron/Family are on the album. After playing the new song "Song for a Warrior," Gira thanked the people who traveled long distances to see the show. "That means a lot to me," he said.

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Jim Narcy
David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand at the Oriental Theater.

While Gira delivered a heavy set, Wovenhand brought a completely different kind of intensity. Fronted by David Eugene Edwards, former leader of 16 Horsepower and one of the most powerful frontmen in the state, Wovenhand opened a fierce set with "The Beautiful Axe." Once a trio with bassist Pascal Humbert and drummer Ordy Garrison, Wovenhand has changed a bit with the addition of bassist Gregory Garcia Jr., keyboardist Jeff Linsenmaier and Git Some guitarist Chuck French. Sure, the band delivered some mighty sets a trio, but the keys and extra guitar just make things that much heavier.

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Jim Narcy
David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand at the Oriental Theater.

With Garrison pounding the toms with propulsive Native American-inspired beats on songs like "The Beautiful Axe" and "Winter Shaker" and the keys and both guitars churning out drones, the whole experience got damn near trance-inducing at times. Even the enigmatic Edwards himself seemed to go into something of a trance at points with eyes closed and hands waving.

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Jim Narcy
David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand at the Oriental Theater.

Drawing material from the last few albums, Ten Stones, Consider the Birds and The Threshingfloor, Wovenhand's hour and fifteen-minute set was heav from start to finish, even with back-to-back slower cuts such as "The Speaking Hands" and "Sinking Hands" thrown in. Closing out the night with the fervent "Kicking Bird," the vibe was damn near overwhelming.

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Jim Narcy
David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand at the Oriental Theater.

See Also:

- Less talk, more rock: Does talking during shows bug you, or is it just an expected part of the deal?

- So what's with all the talk at shows?

- Talking during shows: the musicians' perspective - John Common

- Talking during shows: the musicians' perspective - Eric Shiveley

- Talking during shows: the musicians' perspective - Gene Davis

- Talking during shows: the musicians' perspective - Kurt Ottaway


CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK

Personal Bias: Wovenhand is one of the most intense live acts in the state.

Random Notes: There was a girl with green hair who held up her shoes a few times between songs of Gira's set.

By the Way: Openers Howling Hex, which included Royal Trux's Neil Hagerty, played an intriguing half-hour set.



Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music

Location Info

Map

Oriental Theater

4335 W. 44th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music


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10 comments
Kenneth L Garcia
Kenneth L Garcia

I was at the show and it was excellent.   The crowd was very upbeat and wanted to hear loud music.  Why rock when you are not on a roll?  Wovenhand stole the show and sounded awesome and loud and everyone was having an excellent time and I could not hear anyone talking during Wovenhand.  Their was a group of people in the back and they seemed to be having the most fun out of anyone except for Wovenhand.

Lesley 'Lelly' Ernst
Lesley 'Lelly' Ernst

If my legacy is going to be that I'm the green haired girl who held up her shoes at Michael Gira, well, at least Michael Gira is mentioned.

Andythomas313
Andythomas313

Hey "artists," if your music is engaging and compelling people will stop talking and listen. If not, it's not up to berate them and make the situation awkward for everyone else. Go play in your living room where's it's quiet and no one will bother you. Fucking prima donnas! 

Lesley 'Lelly' Ernst
Lesley 'Lelly' Ernst

Micheal Gira's music is engaging (and some of the most compelling music in the entire universe) if you were one of the loud ones, perhaps if you had just shut your mouth for a second, you would have realized this.

Andythomas313
Andythomas313

I was not at the show and, while it does really bother me when people talk during quiet performances, it just really drives me crazy when musicians start telling the audience to "shut the fuck up." Tis rude. Put your shoes back on! : ) 

chub fresh
chub fresh

 rock n roll is not a joke. like the man said, if you wanna talk, go in the other room. why pay 15 or 20 dollars to disrupt the man's vibe. "Tis rude" to pull shit like that on a traveling icon... that's the good part about that theater. wanna talk? go in the bar. wanna rock? go pay attention. right?

Lesley 'Lelly' Ernst
Lesley 'Lelly' Ernst

Hahahahaa, ok, ok. *puts shoes back on and pouts*Sorry if I came off as a little harsh.M. Gira's music is very close to my heart.

Devowasright
Devowasright

 i am quite thankful he said something. denver has some of the worst concert etiquette of anyplace i've been, and frankly, its high time people are called out for being rude and disrespectful to the artist AND everyone else in the room. it doesn't matter how compelling an artist is, there will always be people that act just like they do at a club or a hockey game.  to not say anything does the entire society a disservice.

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