The Skin of a Drowned and Crucified Avocado Pit
Felix R. Cid - In God We Trust (2007)
Owen marks an important musical transition for me from self-absorbed emo, through heavy medication, to self-identified folk. Not to oversimplify and place Mike Kinsella in the category of teen angst (especially since he is over thirty and married), but I identify with a certain honest immaturity in his struggles with lyrics and strange public places. So I ventured last night down to campus and into a reminder of my own aging to see him play the already awkward cafeteria at Club 770.
The set was built of pleasant acoustic arpeggios in strange minor chords overlaid with sparse words about emotion with most emotion detached. Quite typical, on a steel cafeteria chair by himself. But then he began massacring several Fugazi songs by playing only the dull second-guitar lines, playing them poorly, and not even attempting to finish a song. The charade may have appeared totally egoistic to the unprepared concert-goer, but is exactly why Owen performances are so unique and intimate. Mike's unapologetic realness mixes the informality of watching a friend pick away at a guitar in his dorm room across the hall with the voyeurism of watching him break down and cry.
Both the visual and musical pieces in this post play with daily monotone to express serious frustrations, sampling from very personal references and strange senses of humor. Much like Felix Cid, the young Spanish photographer featured above, Owen's choices are interesting because of the transparency of this emotional complexity. There is no other musician I will watch so expecting, even wishing for a just OK performance. And feel totally validated by it.
Owen - The Ghost of What Should've Been (mp3) [previous post]