Sun Kil Moon, the new band from former Red House Painters leader Mark Kozelek, has nabbed college radio airplay with its Jetset disc “Ghosts of the Great Highway.” At its melodic and affecting best — the tune “Carry Me Ohio” is a treasure — Kozelek proves himself spectacular at channeling the dark side of Neil Young for the alt-rock crowd. Executing the dynamics of the record onstage, however, appears to be too much of a chore for the guitarist.
Band put in two hours onstage at a half-full El Rey, though it was clear Kozelek has a disdain for performing. He pays no heed to the fact that his droning, acoustic numbers, performed with two fellow guitarists and an occasional violist and violinist, eventually all blur together. Were he to bring along a drummer, as he does on the album, the music would possess a greater rhythmic distinction. His words — what makes him stands out — were less than decipherable due to a muddy sound system.
Kozelek, who cracked jokes about Young’s musical play “Greendale” and Led Zeppelin that went over the heads of most of the twentysomething crowd, kept the pace of an exhausted workhorse. His music is meant to be played at 3 in the morning after at a night in bars or on a cloudy Sunday; the pace is so slow, it’s actually a technical wonder that the band members can all maintain his pace.