Music – Live – John Murry, Bush Hall 8 May 2013

There’s one moment here when John Murry approaches perfection. If you’re familiar with his album The Graceless Age, you’ll guess what I mean. The encore. ‘Little Coloured Balloons’. Murry’s stark, raw, account of his heroin addiction and his near death from an overdose in the Mission District. He mumbles an intro and explains that he’s really just trying to avoid singing the song. But when he starts, we are transfixed. No guitars, just keyboard and vocals. As the song reaches the climax ‘I took an ambulance ride / they said I should have died / on 16th and Mission’ Murry turns and walks offstage to huge applause as the band keeps playing.

To request a further encore after that would be completely superfluous, and no-one does. This was honestly one of the best and most intense musical experiences I’ve had this year. The rest of the set is good, based around a more conventional bass/eletric guitar lineup, but LCB is on a whole different level. I’m reminded of early Eels or maybe early Wilco – or maybe E’s pre-Eels albums or late Uncle Tupelo – I feel like Murry is at the level that E or Tweedy were at then, by which I mean that there is hopefully a lot more to come from him yet.

About simonchamberlain

New Zealand librarian and music fan, living in London.
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