vampyr

Fans of classic film and live music are in for a special treat next week, as the San Francisco Film Society has commissioned its latest world premiere merging the two mediums. On Monday, May 2, the San Francisco International Film Festival will continue its celebration of classic film intertwining with contemporary music by presenting Vampyr with Mercury Rev and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins).

As the first program in the Live & Onstage section of the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, two members of Mercury Rev (Jonathan Donahue, Sean “Grasshopper” Mackowiak), Simon Raymonde of Cocteau Twins, Jesse Chandler of Midlake, and Michael Jerome Moore of Better Than Ezra will perform an original score to Carl Theodore Dryer’s 1932 classic horror film Vampyr at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco.

Mercury Rev is best known for its critically acclaimed 1998 album, Deserter’s Songs. The five-piece collaborative band will premiere the Vampyr live score during Monday’s screening with Jonathan Donahue on bowed saw, prepared guitar, percussion; Sean “Grasshopper” Mackowiak on clarinet, Tettix Wave Guitar, percussion; Simon Raymonde on xylophones, transistor organs; Jesse Chandler on flute, woodwinds, Mellotron; and Michael Jerome Moore on orchestral percussion. Interestingly enough, the Tettix Wave Guitar is an instrument invented by Mackowiak himself.

“Mercury Rev is such an exciting band for the Festival’s live score,” said Rachel Rosen, San Francisco Film Society’s director of programming, in a press release for the event. “They’ve studied film and have an avid appreciation for movies on top of their dynamic sound which is wonderfully suited to accompany images on the big screen. Adding Simon Raymonde to the mix makes the evening even more exceptional. As always, this will be one of the evenings I’m most looking forward to at this year’s Festival.”

These masters of reverb and alt-rock innovation are set to provide a unique musical accompaniment to the film’s atmospheric nuances, with subtle strings to compliment the screen’s spooky shadows and ethereal percussion to support its mysterious dream-like sequences.

Tickets to Vampyr with Mercury Rev and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins) are $20 for SFFS members, $25 for the general public.

Vampyr with Mercury Rev and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins)
Castro Theatre
May 2, 2016
8pm, $20-25