Posted in music on April 7, 2010

DOWNLOAD: Bonnie Prince Billy - Play, Guitar, Play (MP3)

photo by Shawn Brackbill

Bonnie Prince Billy

At the eight o'clock early show, [Bonnie "Prince"] Billy showed up in all-yellow in the darkened stony room, accompanied by collaborator Emmett Kelly of the Cairo Gang, who played guitar and carried high-pitched, sinuous harmonies. For the duration, our "Prince" performed sans microphone, or any instrument besides the occasional melodica, singing mournful ballads from his newly-released album, The Wonder Show of the World. It was transcendent. Oldham has the commanding presence of a stage actor; his movements are evocative, animated, and precise. A lot of the time last night, he looked like he was performing a monologue rather than singing a song. Meanwhile, the jam-packed crowd sat shoulder-to-shoulder on Monster Island's concrete floor, but, from what we could tell, the room was too busy being enthralled by Oldham to really mind.[Village Voice]
Bonnie "Prince" Billy and the Cairo Gang (Will Oldham and guitarist Emmett Kelly) played three shows in two nights at the intimate Monster Island on April 1st and 2nd. Really nice videos of the unamplified show are posted below.

A song from the new record, The Wonder Show of the World, out now on Drag City, is re-posted above. Their tour, which stopped at New Orleans' famous Preservation Hall, has a few more West Coast shows left. Videos from the Monster Island gig ("I See a Darkness" as an encore, and more) are below...

Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang - Beware Your Only Friend April 1st
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Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang - I See A Darkness

Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang - Someone Coming Through/You Win

Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang - With Cornstalks Or Among them/The Sounds Are Always Begging

Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang

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Comments (22)

boomer and carton

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 3:17 PM

Literally the best thing I've ever seen. Seriously this time.

Posted by Brussel Sprout | April 7, 2010 3:37 PM

hey village voice... the floor at Monster Island's wooden, not concrete!

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 3:57 PM

there was a stage actually

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 4:01 PM

Also, Village Voice- Oldham IS an actor, sometimes.

Posted by imdb | April 7, 2010 4:06 PM

The floor felt like concrete.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 4:29 PM

sitting on the floor was miserable. thanks a lot todd p. nearly ruined it for me.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 4:39 PM

That 2 paragraph VV writeup is unbelievably inaccurate.

*People were visibly uncomfortable on the floor and many got up and didn't return before Oldham's set was over.

*The floor was made of wood, not concrete!

*Oldham is an actor and has had decent sized roles in a number of independent films.

*Last time Oldham was in town he also played Santo's Party House for $20 in addition to the Apollo for $40.

*The instrument he played occasionally was a melodica not a harmonica (this appears to have been corrected)

What a bunch of shit.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 4:42 PM

i don't think they ever said he wasn't a actor they just said his live show has the presence of an actor... why bull shit

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 5:08 PM

Was not there but wish I was.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 5:19 PM

5 encores friday night. holy best.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 5:36 PM

if you can't sit on a floor and watch beautiful music without bitching, you're a pretentious shit.

who cares what people that uptight think about anything

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 5:47 PM

have anyone ever heard how will oldham is the heir to some giant corporate fortune?

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 7:16 PM

That show was bullshit. We walked out of there 30 minutes in. Left laughing at all the suckers sitting on the floor drooling over Gollum in the corner.

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 9:01 PM

yeah, real "suckers" for enjoying a show. Only cool people pay to see something and then leave 30 minutes in, thus wasting their time and money, right?

Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2010 9:46 PM

yeah, 9:01, total bullshit. what did you do when you left? head to brooklyn bowl for some microbrews? head back to the condo to watch reruns of kitchen confidential that you had saved on tivo? i'm sure it was something awesome. i ditched out early, too: came back to my sweet sublet and wrote anonymous comments on message boards. it was way cooler than that scene.

at the very least, regardless of the merits of his music, i think we can all agree that the artist performing that night had no right getting on stage the way he looks, right? is that the point you are trying to make by referring to him as "gollum?" classy post, 9:01, we all appreciate your input.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2010 12:04 AM

if anyone at this event was so dense that they couldn't enjoy the simple beauty of it, I pity them

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2010 2:48 AM

you lemmings wouldn't know good show if it bit you in the ass.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2010 7:07 AM

9:01 wouldn't know a beautiful show if it tickled him in the colon. hard.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2010 10:03 AM

"That 2 paragraph VV writeup is unbelievably inaccurate."

Calm down, folks. No one expects a blog like the Village Voice to ever be right about stuff.

Posted by J | April 8, 2010 2:03 PM

Despite the discomfort of sitting on the floor, it was a great show. I doubt I'll ever get to see him perform in such an intimate setting again.

Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2010 2:57 PM

hmm...I posted a comment here yesterday but you still haven't ok'd it?

Posted by Pattttrick | April 9, 2010 11:26 AM

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