Mk.gee’s L.A. Performances Spotlight Why He’s a Musician’s Musician

Los Angeles-based musician Mk.gee played back-to-back sold out shows this week at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood, and the performances were no-frills: no opener, no banter, no visuals.

In fact, Mk.gee could hardly be seen amidst the spotlight placed directly behind him for the entire show on Wednesday (April 24). He let his music do all of the talking instead, and while this description might sound uninspired, the real effect was anything but. Mk.gee’s performance was more captivating and enigmatic than even his recorded music — a show that kept the spotlight fixed on the artist’s work rather than the artist himself.

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After releasing his latest album, Two Star and the Dream Police, on Feb. 9, Mk.gee (real name: Mike Gordon) has been amassing his own brand of mysterious indie stardom. He’s always been a musician’s musician, beloved by everyone from Frank Ocean to Anderson .Paak dating back to 2018’s sunnier album Pronounced McGee. But the singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer had yet to hit the radar of many current listeners until Two Star debuted.

This is likely because he keeps to himself. It’s clear Mk.gee is not chasing algorithms or clout or money. He rarely does interviews or shows his whole face in photos. The most he’s ever been seen really was when he played guitar in Dijon’s music videos for Absolutely, the acclaimed 2021 album that he co-wrote and co-produced, or the recent time he played on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Even then, viewers in the YouTube comment section were calling him a “Batman of Music.”

It’s refreshing — and shocking — to see a musician like Mk.gee in 2024, and his elusiveness and focus on his craft is not something I believed could still work in an era of shameless and constant self-promotion. With Mk.gee, the music is enough. What a relief that is.

He came with just two bandmates (Andrew Aged and Zack Sekoff), a hard set-up to pull off, especially when the focal point of the performance is on the musicality of the artist on stage. Playing through songs from Two Star, the three musicians improvised over the tracks, patiently and incisively, bringing new emotional heft to songs that already oozed with it to begin with. Sometimes this would go on for minutes longer than the recorded version’s run time, especially after “Are You Looking Up” which marked the end of the set before he came back for an encore, and it was always felt like a gift to hear the trio keep going.

If the set could be compared to anyone else’s, it would probably be that of musical polymath James Blake or of Bon Iver’s 22, A Million performances, which have similarly used backlighting and an artful mix of programmed and ad-libbed playing.

While I was hoping to hear some tracks from Pronounced McGee and The Museum of Contradiction (2020), Mk.gee’s set was much more uniform as simply a showcase of Two Star songs, and I could forgive those exclusions for the sonic consistency this choice brought to the show. All in all, Mk.gee’s was an incredibly focused, sparse presentation that kept his musicianship centerstage at all times. It’s a must-see for concert lovers, especially those who seek live talent over visual pageantry.

See the setlist for Mk.gee’s L.A. show on April 24 below.

“New Low”

“How Many Miles”

“Dream Police”

“You got It”

“Rylee & I”



“I Want”

“Are You Looking Up”



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