Owen Sings and Humors

October 12th, 2009

Owen – Mercury Lounge – October 9, 2009

Owen - Mercury Lounge - October 9, 2009
There was something strikingly old fashioned but noticeably modern about Mike Kinsella’s set—performing as Owen—at Mercury Lounge on Friday night. If you closed your eyes and just listened to him and his acoustic guitar, it was easy to imagine that you were at an intimate James Taylor show circa 1970. The packed crowd listened to Kinsella’s simple, personal lyrics sung in a pristinely sweet voice. His set list, merely a suggestion as he took requests from the crowd, was written in pen on his hand, and it smeared while he played.

Between songs, Kinsella bantered about topics like President Obama’s Nobel Prize and Facebook statuses, all the while a girl up front recorded the show on her Flip Video camera. Open your eyes and Kinsella was suddenly just as much Zach Galifianakis as he was James Taylor. For an hour he bounced around from slowly soft songs to upbeat pop tunes, drastically shifting the tuning on his guitar each time. Some of the highlights included “Good Friends, Bad Habits,” and “New Leaves.” By the set’s end, Kinsella had entranced everyone in the crowd, drawing them in with his Taylor-like skills and Galifianakis-like humor. And even when a cell phone interfered with the speakers, Kinsella’s music rang louder. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane |