Is there a direct correlation between aging, going solo and wearing a cowboy hat? Are the three mutually exclusive? Perhaps not, but Michael Gira's set last night at the Doug Fir would show evidence strongly in favor this.
The night started with Larkin Grimm, a strong bisexual female singer/songwriter. Go ahead, google “strong bisexual female singer/songwriter,” then scroll down a few, you might find her. She wears her sexuality on her sleeve, or she would, but sleeves are probably a function of patriarchal fascism, so she doesn't have any. Her best song, for instance, was about a distant galaxy where everyone has their own spirit orgasm.
“The female orgasm is outlawed in Georgia, where I'm from,” she began, and went on to preach the gospel of some ethereal orgasm wormhole. Very enlightening. Another highlight of her set was a lyric about sleeping with other women, where she describes a lover's legs “open like scissors.” Scissors? Really? I mean, its just too damn easy.
Perhaps I was all singer/songwritered out by the time Gira got on stage. Perhaps I just don't hold him to the same level of genius as a lot of Swans fans do. All I can say, and I say it because this is blogging and I can blog any opinion I have whether is valid or not, is that I was terribly bored by his set from the start.
What it comes down to, for me, is that while Gira has an amazing voice and great stage presence, his songs are one-dimensional when stripped this bare. Even when, in groups like Angels of Light, his instrumentation is minimal, the other musicians, in very subtle ways, flesh his simple chord structures into dynamic, moving songs.
Whether he's a legend or not, I gotta calls it like I sees it: When you're bored, you're bored.