If we were to make a list of songwriting craftsmen, those individuals who, over the course of musical history, have managed to hone their skill in a way that pays homage to the instrument’s natural voice, Mark Kozelek would surely rank among the field’s most prominent elocutors. Having spent some 15 years’ etching out his brand of heartbreaking and forlorn aural sculptures with the Red House Painters, (which was later bestowed with the unimaginative tag of “sadcore”), Kozelek’s song writing has evolved to a level of refinement and elegance for which the violation of the short and sharp rock n’roll procedure is permissible, and indeed, warmly welcomed. To hear him state, with an air of candid admission, that he is “fucking tired of playing these songs” is no surprise, but it doesn’t detract from his ability to write songs that tug at the heartstrings, each composition acting as a musical balm against the intense sentiment of relationships fractured and dissolved. Proceedings don’t exactly kick-off in captivating fashion however. The opener, one of the standout songs from the latest Sun Kil Moon lp, seems unrehearsed and stripped of its gloss almost straight from the get-go. The song falls flat and I look skyward, wondering whether this band is to be the latest victim of lacklustre acoustics or whether they're merely going through the ambivalent motions of a post-festival comedown. “End of the Road was wet, muddy and messy,” Kozelek states, much to the chagrin of the crowd. A few brief interjections later, crowd and band relaxed in each other’s presence, Sun Kil Moon start to slowly ground out some continuity and flow. In full force, with the backing band working diligently with poise and freeform invention, Sun Kil Moon sound like the kind of band that could carry a thousand barren melodies through a deep and muddying tumult. And what’s more, their safe passage is so often guaranteed by having Kozelek as their henchman, leading each note through the mire with a voice of chiselled fortitude, carrying a tone so glimmering it can shatter glass. By the end, having spent more than two hours pouring out his wistful compositions into the dank environs of the Scala, each piece met with rapturous applause, Kozelek starts to reflect, with some despondence, on the volatile cruelty of the touring beast. “I guess this show is somewhat of a defining moment, in that I’m actually playing to more than fifty people. I just don’t know what I have to do to get people to come to my shows,” he laments. Keep playing like this Mark, and whatever the impassivity of others, London will always have a place for you to stay.