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Kevin Morby – Strom, Munich, 14/11/2016 (Concert Review)

In a very crowded location, Strom in Munich, Meg Baird opened for Kevin Morby that night. Sadly, the crowd started talking over her songs only after a few minutes and didn’t give her the respect she deserves as one of the most interesting folk singers around at the moment. Nevertheless, Kevin Morby delivered an exciting show. One of his talents is to make even gloomy songs appear easy, to have that certain laid back air surround him on stage.

His band is marvellous, although not presenting the former drummer of The Babies as I expected. But also the bass player Cyrus Gengras and the wonderful guitarist Meg Duffy showed all of their talent. Duffy lifted many of the songs to another level.

The first real highlight of the show was an extensive and intense version of ”Harlem River“ in which she excelled all the others onstage. Another peak was ”Miles, Miles, Miles“ which showed unexpected pop appeal. And of course, Singing Saw’s masterpiece ”I Have Been to the Mountain“ didn’t disappoint either.

Morby’s songs seem to come from the heart of America, not Trump’s America, but the good one. The one of the hobos, the people we like. And the country we like. Morby mentions Trump, stating it simply as ”sad“, and thanking everyone in Europe showing solidarity with him and all the other Americans that were shocked about the US election.

The last song of the regular set was his new online single ”Beautiful Stranger“, which showed another Morby. Morby, the storyteller. Morby, the protest singer. Morby as Bob Dylan. And he succeeded in this, too. He tells us about the attacks in Orlando and Paris, thinking of all the beautyful strangers who lost their lives there tragically, for no reason:

Pray for Paris
They cannot scare us
Or stop the music
You got a sweet voice, child
Why don’t you use it?
If I die too young, if the gunmen come, I’m full of love
So release me, every piece of me, up above

Sadly, this songs probably won’t be available on vinyl, as it is a true winner. All the revenues go to the ”Everytown for Gun Safety“ organisation, so buying the digital single it is still worth it. ”I’m full of love“ – that’s how Morby appears for the whole evening. He, earlier in the show, sometime shouted out ”Leonard Cohen forever“ and later then pays tribute to him by reciting ”Passing through“, which was made famous by Cohen. A great performance, together with Meg Baird, who joined the band for it.

At the end, Morby performs ”The Ballad of Arlo Jones“, a song that resembles his earlier band The Babies the most. I saw him play a show in Munich with them years ago, in front of a dozen people. Now, Morby somehow managed to fill a much bigger venue. It will be exciting to see where his path will lead him in the future.

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