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Concert Series: Mk.gee

Writing by: DeVan Whitaker

Photo credit: Nicole Busch



"An evening with Mk.gee" in the wake of his latest offering, Two Star & The Dream Police, was full of subtle surprises and sonic redecorations of what has proven to be a beloved album so far. Released in February of this year, Two Star has already become a pivotal record in Mk.gee’s discography, and it felt maximized by the choice of venue. Revolution Hall’s simultaneously roomy and intimate setting made for a great set with a music-focused atmosphere, and fans locked in enchantment with the mysterious and spellbinding figure on stage.


Having fully registered a wider fanbase with his newest album, Mk.gee brought a set truly dedicated to his latest, and potentially greatest material yet. Two Star & The Dream Police, slightly north of a half-hour in runtime, is a rewarding and adventurous experience on its own, but not quite the ride that is his live performance. Perhaps the best example of this is seen in Mk.gee’s recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, which gives a fresh, vibrant spin on its studio quality version. Sans the saxophone player from the Kimmel performance, his traveling combo of guitars, synths and synth drums were truly resonant in the space to an impressive degree.


While a very chill crowd environment prevailed throughout the evening and movement was at a relative minimum, make no mistake, the audience appeared thoroughly locked in from the arms reach of the front row to the far reaching limits of the balcony. The nocturnal and dreamy sounds present in Two Star translate directly to the stage, while instrumental timbre gives his live set a surprisingly textural and noisy edge. The distorted guitar strikes were plentiful, and powerful enough to rip a hole in the air, while the drumming was a precise series of explosive peaks between understated valleys. The harmony in all of this was outstanding, and the seemingly synchronized headnod that pervaded the crowd was proof that they were unanimously in tune.


Often, great concerts are made by great performers who light up the stage with their presence. Mk.gee certainly has a nonchalant aura and subdued charm about him, but it felt as though his exploits musically were the intended primary focus. From the design of his set, to the choice of venue, and overall attention to detail, it became clear that Mk.gee lets the sounds speak for themselves more often than not.


Overall, Mk.gee’s stop in Southeast Portland was a short, sweet success that not only recreated, but elevated his tracks to new, flavorful heights. I left the venue badly wishing a live version of this album to be published, as its augmentations of the original give it a new look I thoroughly love, but I can also appreciate that my attendance was rewarded with a unique, fresh take on an already solid body of work.



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