Photo Recap: Kevin Morby at The Hi-Fi

Funny enough, listening to a recording can obscure the musicality of a performer. This is especially true of records like Kevin Morby’s City Music, a seamless piece that Morby released last year on Dead Oceans. The album has all of the hallmarks of an #albumoftheyear: timeless emotional weight, zero filler, and a pace that travels from bold-as-lightning on one end to twinkling traffic lights and back again. The music is alive here, and Morby is clearly an excellent musician by any standard. Only experiencing him through spotify, cd, or even vinyl, though, is to only understand a fraction of the talent coursing through him and his band.

For one, obviously, the suit game here is strong. Donned in honky tonk formal wear covered in enough embroidery to impress an outlaw mc gang, Morby is not fucking around. Beyond the style, though, is where the meat and potatoes live. Every band member has the skill to take a deceptively simple song structure and add their own complex layer to it, building and crafting something so alive and sprawling that the album version of the same song seems wilted and limp by comparison. The crowd at the HI-FI was already excited before the set, but they were set to a full frenzy as the band exploded City Music’s eponymous track and tore through the manic energy of “1234.” It was as if the crowd was hearing something that we had instinctively loved for the very first time, that we couldn’t help but love.

City Music was one of my favorite albums from last year, but Kevin Morby puts on one of the best performances I’ve even seen.

 

Kevin Morby

 

Hand Habits

 

 

Photos by Doug Fellegy (via Flickr)

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