A throne of willow and sulphur

Nurse With Wound
The Sun and Moon Ensemble
June 17, 2006
The Great American Music Hall, San Francisco

The atmosphere sits on a throne of willow and sulphur.

The Sun and Moon Ensemble The Sun and Moon Ensemble

During the Nurse With Wound performance Saturday night, masked characters were writing notes and walking through the seated audience silently handing them to people. The first one they wrote was given to Sarai and it consisted of the line above, adorned with drawings of music notes.

Nurse With Wound Nurse With Wound

This was Nurse With Wound’s first US performance in the more than 20 years Steven Stapleton has been creating music under that name, and apparently the first time they have performed live since the 1980s. It was a very low-key show; most of the audience was seated (although that was mostly to keep out of the way of the projector), and the music, one long continuous piece lasting the duration of the performance, was lush and atmospheric. The lighting, the projections, and the masked figures sitting onstage and walking among the crowd gave the show a surreal, dream-like quality. It was an amazing show. I really wish I had gone the first night as well as the second.

There are a some pictures by other people as well as myself on Flickr and a short video on YouTube.

More pictures


Simone says:

Had I any idea the show would be like that I would’ve looked into going!

The flower mask is positively hilarious.

Irfon-Kim Ahmad says:

I was under the impression that the people writing and distributing the notes were actually The Recordists, a troupe from Toronto (based on the one guy — Robert? — saying prior that we’d have distrction from The Recordists from Toronto in front of the stage). I found their website here.

I loved the shows, although I actually preferred the Friday show. The sound was more integrated and organic, much more lush (but there was no associated performance). But both performances were well worth the trip. :)

Kenn Christ says:

Thanks for the tip, I think you’re right. I remember the name Recordists mentioned but it didn’t really register at the time, I guess. The masks just led me to belive they are part of The Sun and Moon Ensemble.

I wish now I had gone to both shows. I briefly considered it but decided one night was enough.

Irfon-Kim Ahmad says:

I know what you mean. I think, had I been local, I would have only gone to the one show. Usually when a band plays two dates here, I assume it’s just because the venue size is limited and they believe they have enough pull to fill two shows. I only really thought to buy tickets to both shows because I was coming in from Toronto for the show and thought, “Well, if I’m going all that way to see the show, I might as well see both.”

They were indeed the recordists. The two people writing the notes are from Toronto, and the one handing them out resides in Berkeley, where he djs on KALX under the name Carnacki.

Night number two gets my vote, although Friday was really good too.