Couples were getting in the Valentine’s Day mood early at Irving Plaza during the Morcheeba concert February 11th. The down tempo grind of the music matched the dimly lit stage and atmospheric lighting so the action in the crowd actually became part of the show. Plus the fragrant air in the venue corresponded with the band’s name as “cheeba” is an informal name of cannabis.
Morcheeba opened strong with “The Sea” off of their 1998 release, Big Calm. After hearing about the return of singer Skye Edwards after many years of estrangement and replacements hired by brothers Paul and Ross Godfrey, everything seems to be happily resolved. With her commanding presense and smooth velvety vocals, it’s hard to even imagine someone else leading the charge from center stage. With guitars, drums, keyboards and requisite turntables for the electronic bias of the band, there’s a need for such focus. Edwards is a charming diva who fulfills the role effortlessly.
After the first song Edwards gave a big, cheery shout out to New York City and asked if the audience was ready to dance with her. Many were already wondering how she could even move in her impossibly high platform heels. At one point Edwards asked “By the way, do you like my dress?” Then she recounted how she made the red flowy halter dress with the layered billowing skirt herself. Over the crowd’s approval by applause a bandmate joked that she was being a showoff, with a chuckling reaction by all on stage.
Then it was back to the business of their music, offering up songs from their new release last year including the title track and other tracks off Blood Like Lemonade. For “Beat of the Drum”, Edwards orchestrated call back session by splitting out male and female parts for the chorus, encouraging the crowd even more every time around. Other highlights from other releases included “Wonders Never Cease”, “Over and Over”, “Otherwise” and “Trigger Happy”. The band ended the evening with the uplifting sing-a-long chorus “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day”.
You and me were meant to be
Walking free in harmony
One fine day, we’ll fly away
Don’t you know Rome wasn’t built in a day
// Notes from the Road
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