Monday, April 23, 2007

Make a joyful sound!

The first year I went to MACRoCk at JMU, I saw this great line up that included The Mountain Goats, Soltero, Mirah, and Of Montreal. Somewhere in between a few of those acts was this guy named Brother Danielson who literally plays in a tree. A tree. Literally. For his entire set, I was very confused, because A. There's a dude playing guitar while standing in a tree, B. the guy has a kick-drum at the base of the tree and after every song he has to step out of the tree to straighten it, and C. the guy is SCREECHING into the microphone at an ear-splitting frequency. When the set (which also included an attempt at inciting the audience to sing along with lyrics projected on a screen) was over, I was very unsettled and kind of relieved.

A year and a half later, I went to CMJ in New York to see another great lineup: Antony and the Johnsons, Damien Jurado, and Magnolia Electric Co. Again, randomly thrown in that mix was Brother Danielson, who trotted out on stage with that big-ass tree again. This time, however, he had Sufjan Stevens helping him, and I was very excited because I had just seen him at that year's MACRoCk and had been listening to Greetings from Michigan and Seven Swans for the entire summer (this was a full year before Illinois, by the way, so he wasn't as recognizable on stage). Having Sufjan play banjo was a nice distraction from the wailing Brother Danielson, who did not encourage audience participation (it was a major concern, because I was right below him and, well, terrified of the screaming man in the tree).

Anyway, the reason I bring all of this up is because I watched a documentary about Daniel Smith called Danielson: A Family Band. I had always heard that Danielson was a Christian recording group, but when I saw him perform solo I didn't get the sense that there was a spiritual inspiration to his music. The documentary was fantastic because it not only made me realize there was an interesting genius behind the odd and goofy musical project, but it also shows Christianity in a more positive light than recent studies of it (Jesus Camp, for example). I'm not a religious person, but I do have a respect for people who have a spiritual side to them and can somehow pull it off in way that isn't so hypocritical.

Also, the movie has Sufs in it, right before his big break.

Anyway, that's my movie recommendation of the week. Netflix that shit, y'all!

1 comment:

Ben said...

i remember tree guy
that dude was awesome