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Moby Still Moves an Audience

September 24th, 2009

Moby – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 23, 2009

Moby - Terminal 5 - September 23, 2009
For a generation raised on a pop-culture diet of Leonardo DiCaprio movies, car commercials and MTV, Moby is a distinct character. From his sparse apartment highlighted on Cribs to his strange and inventive videos, he is an artist known as much for his quirks as he is for his music. During live shows, Moby’s personality and performance are inextricably intertwined. Last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, he was loquacious, insecure and thoughtful. Before an energetic rendition of “Body Rock,” Moby delivered a caveat that it is “the dumbest, least-introspective song I have ever written.” He introduced the shameless enjoyment of “South Side” with a modest declaration that “it is my only song that would qualify as a hit.”

It seems Moby is his toughest critic. Throughout the set he made mildly self-deprecating remarks and sought out positive feedback from the crowd. He traded in his own “decent” version of “Raining Again” for the house remix produced by Swedish DJ Steve Angello. However, Moby’s greatest moments came when he indulged himself and played his “favorite songs.” With a dedication to the early-’90s Brooklyn rave scene, Moby enthusiastically danced to his progressive house track “Go.” His band included a violinist, drummer, bassist and opener Kelli Scarr on keys. Scarr and singer Inyang Bassey contributed on vocals, delivering some of the most moving and soulful songs of the night. So it was fitting that Moby began his encore by giving the stage to Scarr to sing a song about her son. While detractors, like Eminem, declare “nobody listens to techno,” Moby’s music and friendly ethos continue to resonate with a mass audience. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Greg Notch | photography.notch.org/music