Show Review: Kevin Morby @ The Sidewinder

Wednesday night, we sweated our way though the early set time to catch two artists that have been making headlines in the indie rock world lately: Big Thief and Kevin Morby. It was a quick evening, but a good one nonetheless, and you can read my brief thoughts on both acts after the jump.

First up was Adrianne Lenker and company who comprise Big Thief. You can find their latest release,Masterpiece, atop many lists with critical acclaim. When the band took to the stage, I was excited; I caught this band on the same stage last fall when they opened for Here We Go Magic. The band I remembered was fiery and packed a punch, all with Lenker’s voice clearly the centerpiece of the act. This time around, I got something much different than expected; their set was good, but far more reserved than the band I’d seen before. I was still taken aback by the prowess of Lenker’s voice in the folksy mix, but thought the songs were a bit soft in the humid early evening air.

Kevin Morby took the stage next, Morby in a full suit and bolo tie, his neat ringlets still holding their form. Soon Morby would sweat through both his shirt and his hair, remarking how this was probably the hottest show he’s ever played, though you couldn’t tell in the slightest; this man’s years of performance experience shines bright when he is on the stage. He doled out hits from Singing Saw and his previous album,Harlem River. Only a four piece outfit on the stage, some of the newer material took new forms in the live setting– songs like “I Have Been To The Mountain” were without their orchestral elements and came across more like straightforward rock songs. “Singing Saw,” the title track, and my favorite of the night, really took flight in the live rendition, whereas the recording leaves it simmering till its close. It was a fairly short set, but Morby came back for two songs solo, and then was joined by the band for a proper extra encore. Morby’s showmanship shone brightly, even in the extra crowded outside of The Sidewinder, and made for a lovely evening.

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