Music

All This Happened, More or Less: Moby's Live Return to NYC

Photo: Sachyn Mital

After several years away (at least as a performer), Moby performed two intimate shows in New York City in support of Everything was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt.

Before 2018, the last time I may saw Moby perform in NYC was way back in 2011 (I'm not suggesting this was the last time he performed here). The show was a small, promotional event for Destroyed at Barnes and Noble in Union Square. Prior to that, in 2010, I caught him perform a DJ set at the Electric Zoo Festival. Neither was not a full band performance -- the last one of those I saw was in 2009 at the Theater of Living Arts. (Moby himself noted, "honestly, it's because I'm old, can't remember the last time I played a show like this in New York City.")

But after seeing several of his live shows culminating in the 2009 gig, I recognized Moby had a certain schtick going. At some point in the night, he would play some of his hit songs in a different genre, or maybe even riff on it across several genres. That showed his musical dexterity, but it also came across as rote. His music, though evocative, often relies on repetition. So seeing him perform in a repetitive manner got a little tiring even if he new music helped to vary up the shows. But it was hard to believe it had been nine years since I saw him last.

Moby's last two official releases (excluding the Long Ambient works) were with the Void Pacific Choir and leaned more on his punk roots. But the new album Everything was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt is a refreshing return to the form that made him famous -- Moby's continued to hone his brand of subdued, bluesy electronica. More importantly, he booked a few live shows (with a full band) to promote the record, and I couldn't miss this opportunity to see him again. My warmup for the first of Moby's two sold-out shows at Rough Trade was the broadcast of his performance "This Wild Darkness" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

And the Rough Trade show proved thrilling (even if the gospel chorus didn't attend). It leaned heavily on the new album (as one might imagine) but Moby delved into hits from 1999's Play (like his only #1, "Southside") and a few other jams, including his club anthem "Go" (his actual first release as well), one from 18 ("We Are All Made of Stars", dedicated to Stephen Hawking) and a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love". All the new material meshed well with the older hits -- music just flowed for nearly two hours sans gimmicks.

The formidable guitarist and his strong band smashed through track after track without an encore break pause (what would they do backstage, eat pizza?). Helping the bald vegan bring the new material to life were two of the new album's vocalists, Mindy Jones and Julie Mintz (on keys primarily), along with a drummer and a bassist. They sounded great, and I'm hoping these small shows are a warm-up for a bigger tour. Check out a recording of the show below (or here on Facebook if that link fails) and photos below.



SETLIST
Mere Anarchy
The Middle Is Gone
Falling Rain and Light
Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?
Porcelain
This Wild Darkness
The Tired and the Hurt
The Last of Goodbyes
A Dark Cloud Is Coming
The Sorrow Tree
The Ceremony of Innocence
Like a Motherless Child
Extreme Ways
South Side
Natural Blues
Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin) w/ Honey interlude
Go
We Are All Made of Stars
Almost Home


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.

Music

The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.

Music

Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.

Film

'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.

Music

'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"

Music

Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.

Music

The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".

Music

GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".

Music

Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".

Music

Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.

Music

Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.

Music

The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.

Books

Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.