On Friday evening I went to see James Vincent McMorrow. I love his album, Early in the Morning, added it my top albums of 2011 and even devoted an entire post to his music. I had been wanted to get tickets to his shows for months, but ever time they were sold out. So when I found out he would be doing a seated show in Melkweg this summer, I got tickets as fast as I could. I ended up getting a front row spot. And guess what? This time I didn’t forget to bring my camera. In fact, I decided to try my new camera, so be sure to check out the picture quality.
To say the concert was amazing would be an understatement. The show started with Sparrow & Wolf and he played pretty much his entire album with a few covers added in the mix. The first half of the show featured the somewhat slower songs of his album and after a few songs played solo the show continued with the faster ones. The band consisted of James himself and 5 others, which amazed me at first, because the songs sound so simple and easygoing on the album.
Apart from the songs on the album he played Higher Love which is the Steve Winwood cover that was featured in a commercial on UK television. Surprise of the evening was the first part of the encore when he played a cover of The National’s Blood Buzz. Highlights of the evening were Down the Burning Rope, From the Woods and We Don’t Eat.
The best part of the show were most definitely the harmonies. Throughout the show everyone, apart from the drummer was involved in singing harmonies, 2 part, 3 part, going up to 5 part harmonies were featured in many of the songs. It all came together nicely and it was good to see even the band members were enjoying themselves.
James himself is a bit shy and also seemed very nervous as times, but that’s part of the charm. It mostly showed during his conversations with the audience. As he was tuning his guitar he would literally just ramble about whatever came to mind. The minute he starts to play though that all seems to disappear and it’s almost as if he’s transported to another place and he does the most amazing things. He’s vocally strong and has an amazing falsetto that he knows how to use just the right way.
All in all, I would describe the show as magical. The fact that the concert was seated instead of standing room only, definitely helped to create that. It made it less of a concert in a club, but gave more of an intimate theater feel. The lighting was also spot on. That combined with majestic songs, James’ charm and overall fun with the band and you have yourself a very fulfilling concert experience.
James Vincent McMorrow is on tour until September. After that he will disappear to record his new album. So catch him while you still can!