Tag Archives: Kevin Morby


Kevin Morby Sells Out The Bowery Ballroom Ahead of New Album

May 25th, 2017

Kevin Morby – The Bowery Ballroom – May 24, 2017

Kevin Morby’s upcoming album, City Music, is an ode to this country’s metropolises, especially New York City. Fulfilling a “dream come true,” he played a packed Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night, featuring many songs from the new record and filling them with the tangled, contradictory energy of the city. Morby opened with the title track, singing, “Oh that city music, oh that city sound,” two guitars jostling like taxis down an avenue, the music setting the audience in that liminal space between sway and dance before finally kicking into a double-time, double-energy finish that pushed things over the edge. The rest of the show seemed to teeter like this, Morby and the band itself like a city between night and day, romance and stoicism, dreams and reality.

Morby got his start in Woods and it felt appropriate that his band was made up of musicians who either came from other groups or are on their way to solo careers, including Nick Kinsey (Kinsey) on drums, Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) on lead guitar and Cyrus Gengras on bass. Together they were formidable, as equally comfortable creating hypnotic soundscapes as they were unleashing full-on guitar jams. The highlights featured all facets and more, like “Destroyer,” “Harlem River” and “I Have Been to the Mountain,” each opening into a variety of surprises, funky or thoughtful or full-on psychedelic. As inspired as the band was, Morby’s songs stood on their own and “Beautiful Strangers,” played solo “for Manchester,” resonated with every lyric.

I couldn’t have been the only one in the sold-out room who picked up on shades of Bob Dylan and Lou Reed in Morby’s songwriting and voice as he sang songs about New York City, like “Parade” and the album-closing “Downtown’s Lights,” in New York City. So, it was not a surprise, but no less satisfying when he covered a song by each, closing the set solo on a Dylan-birthday tribute of “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You” and finishing the three-song encore with a cover of Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll.” For the latter, Morby brought out Sam Cohen on third guitar, creating an appropriately city-sized noise to end the night. —A. Stein | @Neddyo


A Music Benefit for Planned Parenthood and the ACLU – Music Hall of Williamsburg – January 18, 2017

January 19th, 2017

Sharon Van Etten - Music Hall of Williamsburg - January 18, 2017

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com


Kevin Morby Returns to Sell Out Rough Trade NYC

June 23rd, 2016

Kevin Morby – Rough Trade NYC – June 22, 2016

For a long time, Kevin Morby called New York City his home. After arriving here in his late teens, the city found it’s way into the songs he wrote, as it almost always does. He’s since moved on, but the songs remain and the place still loves him enough to welcome his return for back to back sold-out shows, the second one at Rough Trade NYC on Wednesday after playing Mercury Lounge on Tuesday. “I played New York last night so I’m trying not to regurgitate my banter,” Morby told the audience.

His set began with the soft and reflective “Cut Me Down” before jumping into the stop-and-start momentum of “Dorothy.” Morby’s got a knack for creating hook-laden grooves that pull you along, but at moments throwing you off the groove and floating the song with just his lyrics. The winding NYC-inspired “Harlem River” rolled through its foreboding rhythms and into an energetic jam, much like the river that cuts off Manhattan from the mainland. In his jams’ heftiest moments, Morby swung back and forth, throwing around both his mop of hair and his bolo tie.

Morby recalled an earlier time he’d played a local show with just his drummer, Justin Sullivan, when someone shouted, “Where’s the band?” He’s since added Cyrus Gengras on bass and Meg Duffy on guitar, who backed songs like “Destroyer” and “Miles, Miles, Miles” with some beautifully understated soloing. The band left the stage and Morby played through “Black Flowers” and Townes Van Zandt’s “No Place to Fall.” Everyone then returned to the stage for the encore, another Gotham-inspired tune, “Parade,” before shutting down things with the barn-burning “Ballad of Arlo Jones.”
—Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks  


Cate Le Bon Sells Out

January 17th, 2014

Cate Le Bon – Mercury Lounge – January 16, 2014

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

Cate Le Bon’s 2014 is off to a solid start. With her fantastic 2013 release, Mug Museum, finding its way onto several year-end best-albums lists (including Bradford Cox’s list), Le Bon’s supporting the album with a string of U.S. shows, many of which are selling out, including last night’s early show at Mercury Lounge. The venue was practically at capacity for the final songs of opening set by Kevin Morby, bassist of the fantastic band Woods.

Unlike many other singer-songwriter Brits, Le Bon’s accent finds its way into her singing voice, adding a certain degree of endearing charm to her airy alto voice floating above her band’s treble-filled syncopated guitar lines. It has traces of Nico’s singing voice with the Velvet Underground, just in a slightly higher register. For those who have ever listened to her recordings and wonder where the high backing vocals come from, it’s not Le Bon’s voice double tracked but the falsetto voices of her all-male backing band. There’s something pretty astounding about watching three guys sing backup harmonies in falsetto.

And it’s all the more astounding considering they can pull it off live while playing other instruments, like on the jaunty guitar riffs carrying out the end of the wonderfully catchy “Are You with Me Now?” The multitalented Le Bon switched between guitar and organ throughout the set. One song even featured a recorder solo (yes, those recorders), after which she made the audience promise not to publish any photographic proof of it because “that’s just not fair.” Le Bon wraps up the remainder of her January with the second half of her U.S. tour before returning to England for a string of shows. So catch her while you can, just make sure not to Instagram any recorder pics.—Dan Rickershauser


Woods Take It to the Next Level

July 29th, 2013

Woods – The Bowery Ballroom – July 27, 2013

“Get ready for the harmonica,” said a friend when I told him I’d be seeing Woods at The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday. But bassist Kevin Morby brought out his mounted harmonica only once, as if in a nod to the Newport Folk Fest happening at the same time a few hundred miles away, for the sun-dappled sway of the set opener, “Pushing Onlys.” The rest of the time, the Brooklyn-based psychedelic folkies hypnotized the comfortably packed room with heavy drones and raga freak-outs, the swirling visuals of inkblots and kaleidoscopic geometry behind the stage casting a candy-colored shadow over them.

On record, Woods allow their skillful manipulation of guitar textures and tones to dominate. As with many bands, more often than not the rhythmic section is more of a means to an end than the centerpiece. Live, however, Morby and drummer Aaron Neveu led the proceedings with a relentless thumping and pounding that took the songs off Bend Beyond to the next level. The title track, “Size Meets the Sound” and “Find Them Empty,” in particular, spiraled into trance-inducing jam sessions with enough different noodlings to keep them interesting without losing the propulsive power of the bass and drums. That’s not to say the guitarists colored within the lines: On “Is It Honest?” Jarvis Taveniere thrashed out so hard during a solo that he knocked over his microphone stand, sending it spinning into the audience.

But all good things must come to an end, and after about an hour, Woods finished their set. They came back on after a mercifully brief interlude for a two-song encore, starting with the wistful acoustic number “It Ain’t Easy.” For the final song, they pulled on Real Estate bassist Alex Bleeker, whose band Alex Bleeker and the Freaks served as one of the openers. After some instrumental switches, Bleeker and Woods launched into a fairly faithful cover of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” with the audience joyfully singing along. —Harley Oliver Brown

Photos courtesy of Peter Senzamici | petersenzamici.com


Get a Little Freaky Tomorrow at The Bowery Ballroom

July 26th, 2013

About eight years ago, singer-guitarist Jeremy Earl began recording a solo project that eventually blossomed into the lo-fi freak-folk Brooklyn band Woods. G. Lucas Crane (tape effects), Kevin Morby (bass) and Jarvis Taveniere (multiple instruments) joined Earl to round out the sound when playing live, and they’ve gone on to release seven acclaimed albums—highlighted by 2009’s Songs of Shame—in seven years, including 2012’s Bend Beyond (stream it below), which was recorded very quickly in order to capture the band’s magnetic live sound. Of course, you can check out their live sound for yourself when—along with Endless Boogie and Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, with trippy visuals provided by Drippy Eye Projections—Woods (above, performing “Bend Beyond” for Windows Have Eyes) play The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night.