Resurrection blues

Mission Creek 2008: Lazarus passes around Hawk Medicine
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Strange places with Lazarus

kimberly@sfbg.com

Lazarus has risen — in North Beach. Picture him, dazed and confused, perfumed with decay and dragging a tattered burial cloth, easily mistaken for yet another starry-eyed traveler in search of beat antiquities, wandering down Columbus Street. But the Bible-thumping, god's honest truth is Lazarus is more likely to be sighted making a beeline into Café Trieste, work-weary and bright-eyed, smiling broadly and snatching a small iced coffee at the counter. That's our latter-day Lazarus, otherwise known as Trevor Montgomery, once a member of Tarentel and the Drift and now generating an occasionally beautiful, always heartfelt moan of his own, last heard on 2007's almost-epic animistic howl of a recording, Hawk Medicine (Temporary Residence).

We meet at Montgomery's former workplace, Trieste, amid the still wild-eyed bohos, newly pressed and somewhat impressed seekers, and aspiring poets — or at least bloggers — hunched over laptops in crusty corners. Montgomery slips into the crowd seamlessly here at his liberation locale. When he first moved to North Beach about five years ago, he lived in a Chinatown hotel — as the sole non-Cantonese speaker. "It really freed me up to really write songs because I'd been living with Danny [Grody] and Jefre [Cantu-Ledesma] in Tarentel for years before that and I could never play," he explains above the din of java-making. "I felt like everybody was listening to me."

Now in the shadow of Coit Tower, Montgomery is glad to find that people are indeed listening: the four-piece touring version of Lazarus — which includes Kathryn Sechrist and Kelly Nyland in addition to the Papercuts' Jason Quever — recently returned from a date at All Tomorrow's Parties in the United Kingdom, curated by Montgomery's friends Explosions in the Sky. He swears it was probably Lazarus' best performance to date. "People surprisingly wouldn't let me leave the stage," he says happily. "I'm really, like, all blown away." On top of that was the thrill of selling merch next to Wu-Tang Clan and Animal Collective.

Unfortunately there's sadness mixed in with the joy. Montgomery also has had to cope with the aftershocks of his mother's massive brain aneurysm two months ago, which sent him down to Orange County, where he grew up, to "take care of my dad and make dinner for him." Still, he was able to take his recording gear to make music in his parents' garage — pieces that likely will show up on his forthcoming 12-inch on Secretly Canadian offshoot St. Ives, which will sport recycled, hand-modified LP covers courtesy of Montgomery and his artist chum Ryan Coffey. "I think the theme of the record musically is going to be extremes: opposites," Montgomery says. "I've been doing just a lot of wild, maniacal guitar playing." He laughs and throws his arms around. "You know, I have a lot of that in me. I need to get it out." *

LAZARUS

With Tiny Vipers and Garrett Pierce

Thurs/17, 9:30 p.m., $6

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF

www.hemlocktavern.com

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