Religion, politics, love, age the themes of Kevin Morby’s music are all sprinkled. His ability to weave them together with a hardened swaggeris what makes him truly special. Last Saturday night Morby and his Oh My God Band performed an hour-and-a-half show to a Bluebird Theater.
In April of this year, Morby released his solo record — a LP titled Oh My God. The piece stripped back Morby’s component that fueled his previous works, and made use of more varied instrumentation in its location. Spitting poetry and adopting impactful — often neglected — musical elements like silent pauses and spoken word, Morby deepened his sound with Oh My God.
Morby’s bandmate and producer Sam Cohen opened the show. Proving to be one of the real champions of the night, Cohen played for nearly two-and-a-half hours with the exception of about a 20-minute split between sets — the set his own, and the second on guitar beside Morby. The man is a well-known producer having worked with the likes of Shakira, Norah Jones, The National, Karen O and more. He was also the Musical Director for The Complete Last Waltz concert which featured members of Dr. Dog, Cass McCombs and Kevin Morby himself.
Cohen used his opening set to flaunt his solo material for those that showed up early. Musician and the manufacturer gave the Bluebird a dose of blues-rock that was at times. He was charming and laid-back showing off his skills on vocals and the guitar. His time in the spotlight was spent warming up the crowd.
After a short break, Morby and his supporting group — Cohen included — stormed a stage paired with minimal production. Flower bouquets were affixed to the microphone stands and cloud-like cotton lined the stage — but that was all. The wall was simply a black curtain hanging from a pipe-and-drape. I often wondered if it would drop, revealing some type of Oh My God artwork or projections that tied into Morby’s innovative and music videos. That moment never came, however, and that was okay by the end none of that mattered — this Saturday night was about the music.
Morby wore a dark suit wreathed with patches including planes wings and candlesticks — like some type of tin soldier. The show took off with Morby playing with nearly all of Oh My God, suitably alongside Cohen granted Cohen produced the record. Working his way through the abysmally baptismal release, Morby showed he was emblazoned and passionate about the job that midway through his tour –. Giving praise to Denver and his supporters, he would stumble as if he had been too excited to share his music — along with them. It was real, breathing life into the night.
Morby wrapped up the show with a couple of selections from his other works, gradually back-tracking through his discography and finish on an encore of “Harlem River. ” The whole thing felt like a party of his art, beginning with a greatest hits medley and his accomplishment to close it all out. As a huge fan of the new album (though still not my favorite), Morby gave me exactly what I wanted from the excursion.
The musician is hilarious, tragic and poetic . Playful political, his tongue-in-cheek comedy is so well illustrated when performed out live it just adds to his charisma that was cool. His vision is clear and his words well spoken, although his use of superb lyricism combined with repetition rides a fine line, on the brink of being too ambitious at things. Morby’s voice was perfect this weekend in Denver, not that he flexes a variety. Regardless, that cool-sounding tonality never faulted and the Oh My God album proved even stronger when played live, backed by Morby’s songwriting and gifted group.
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