In the time leading up to Corbin and Shlomo’s performance at Majestic it rained. Hard.
Though a drag, it did create a nice ambiance for the performances to come. Corbin and Shlomo’s music each have rain and tempestuous-like qualities to them. Some of Shlomo’s darker, more experimental offerings are like driving through a seedy bright-light district, rain falling down on the windshield. Other times, though, you’re transported out of the city and out into the mountains, the rain drizzling soothingly on your raincoat.
Corbin, f.k.a Spooky Black, on the other hand is thoroughly dark through and through, especially on his recently released Mourn LP. Tracks like “ICE BOY” crash down upon you like chunks of hail at midnight. The titular track on the album on the other hand embodies getting caught in the rain after a day has already become a shitty day.
Suffice to say, the rain leading up to the show set the tone and then some.
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The problem with the show, however, was that each artist was not able to sustain the intimacy of their live recordings. Each artist performed their stuff well, especially Shlomo’s guitar work, but there was a sense of a spell being broken.
For Shlomo, it was in the structure of his performance. A mostly instrumental artist, Shlomo’s tracks rely on continuing mods across track to track. The nice thing about recordings is that when one ends the other begins immediately without hesitation.
Emotions come in ebbs and flows, but never end completely. In the set, however, each track was truncated. Whether it was just a moment, or Shlomo saying a few “whatups,” each pause was enough to break the spell.
The similar process unfortunately carried over to Corbin’s set as well. The greatest strength of the album was Corbin’s ability to become non-human. Listening to his uncanny sadness through headphones feels akin to listening to some disembodied avatar of woe. He becomes a monument to your own sadness and struggle.
Live, however, that sense of intimacy is broken. Corbin, in the end, is the man behind the much sadder wizard. His performance, including the bizarre visuals, was an admirable attempt at re-creating that magical transformation, but it was one that fell short nevertheless.
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Corbin also made the curious decision of including many new songs in the set, which simply did not foster the same emotional connection as the ones listeners had already fostered off of Mourn tracks.
In all, a satisfying concert. But it ultimately served the point of making one appreciate the recorded versions that much more.