AMazzy Star concert is more of a music recital than a standard rock show. The moody, modern psychedelic band is often accused — and is actually quite guilty — of doing little more, musically, than simply re-creating its music as if lifted straight from its albums, down to every plaintive sigh and eerie guitar chord.
But it’s the L.A. group’s ability to hold the attention of the audience, drawing newly discovered emotional responses from the music, that makes Mazzy Star both a compelling live attraction and an act whose unique creativity promises an interesting, if predictable, future.
With nary a spoken word for the packed house, singer Hope Sandoval and guitarist Dave Roback — the group’s creative core — cast a hypnotic spell with songs whose sweet melodies and delicate delivery belied what were often startling lyrics full of pain, unanswered emotional questions and passionate devotion.
“She Hangs Brightly,” the title cut from Mazzy Star’s first Rough Trade album , quickly set a provocative mood for the 80-minute show, its Ray Manzarek-like organ pattern and haunting guitar cries accentuating Sandoval’s angelic, wistful vocals. On “Halah,” also from that 1990 release, a country twinge served as a suitable bed for the song’s mournful words of loss and heartache.
Other highlights included the slow blues flow of “Blue Light,” the jazzy “Ghost Highway,” the striking, Doors-like “Mary of Silence,” andthe tender “Into Dust,” which managed to be heard over the din of schmoozing industry types chatting in the club’s upstairs balcony.
There’s little drama at a Mazzy Star show and absolutely no rock-star posturing; what you get on the band’s mesmerizing records is exactly what you get on stage (just supply your own darkly lit room). For those who demand nothing more from their musicians, a band made in heaven.