M. Gira live | Review

The Wire | Jim Haynes & Philip Sherburne

Beyond the Pale Festival SF Great American Music Hall

...By the time Michael Gira, backed by a stripped down version of his Angels of Light, came on, the audience had become testy. Unexpectedly dignified in his sharp linen suit, Gira looked like a gaunt version of actor Russell Crowe. Fleshed out by multi-instrumentalists Dana Schechter and Larry Mullins, Gira's bellowing and sometimes grunting baritone voice worked like a disturbance beneath clean strummed monochords, pulling at the notes like a magnet. A set of mostly recent material soared with a grandiosity that belied its earthen context of love and bitterness. There was a hint of humour, though; as the audience hooted for the 1991 Swans song "Failure" Gira shot back,"You clap for a song about my father dying? You fucking misanthropes." But he threw the crowd off its feet for a second time as he smiled and retracted the statement...