Thursday, January 17, 2013

Morrisey - Kristeen Young -- Strathmore - Jan 16 2013

Kristeen Young - The last time I saw Ms. Young, she was opening for Carol Bui at the backstage of the Black Cat in front of about 50 people. Although people are still filing in, there are only one or two thousand more tonight so far. I would have wondered if just Ms. Young's voice, her piano, and backing rhythm tracks would have been enough to fill this huge room. But I remember being impressed by her operatic voice then and it had no trouble soaring up to me in the balcony. For all her incredible range, she manages to infuse pop moves into the songs. Yet, the incredibly quick moves between high and low notes is amazing. I also recalled that I enjoyed her keyboard work and it was even more evident tonight as she has a real flourish in a rock music sense. If you enjoy Diamanda Galas, Antony Hegarty, or the Dresden Dolls, you owe it to yourself to listen to Kristeen Young. She possesses both the power and creativity to take solo command of the stage even as big as this one. She is often a favored opener for Morrisey and I believe most of the crowd understood why.
Morrisey - Before the set, we were treated to several videos that lay the groundwork for Morrisey. it was older material like Small Faces, Dusty Springfield to the color videos of David Bowie (this drew applause, even) and of course the New York Dolls. Nicely done, ensuring never a dull moment between the acts tonight. Although for several reasons, mostly personal and a few musical, I was somehow not looking forward to this show. Aside from the personal, maybe I had been spending too much time reading Morrisey's quotes in newspapers and magazines and not following his music as much as I should have been. Thankfully for tonight, the stage patter was just right and the music was amazing. His sharp band consisted of drums, bass, two guitars, and a keyboardist who played some guitar and percussion. They created a thick precise stew which clarified into sharper tones over the night. Morrisey's familiar voice is on top of it all, even at the band's loudest moments. Everyone is familiar with his vocal warmth which at times gets a little same-old, but it is such a lovely voice carrying great emotions, that it consistently works over the course of a live set. The songs vary just enough from the loud to the quiet, harder rock, to catchier pop, etc that I was pulled in the whole time. All in all, this was a powerful set with transcendent material delivered coolly, professionally, but with plenty of fire and warmth from within. But Morrisey's opening quote below sums it up well enough.

Quote of the Night: Morrisey before the first note... "The Joy of Music..."


MJG196 said...

Moz puts on a fantastic show when he's "on." I am dying for him to do a place like the 9:30 where people can crown around the stage. Seated venues aren't ideal for a Morrissey show!

David Hintz said...

True, although the people immediately in front of the stage were seriously into it. It is always tough when someone "graduates" beyond the 9:30 Club. Are multiple shows better there than at larger venues? Sometimes performers choose that route. The Strathmore has even a more reserved feeling than most, so your point is well taken. Too bad there isn't an old hockey rink where you could stand on the floor or sit in the stands giving everyone a choice.