Concert Review: Morcheeba, February 21st, Phoenix

Toronto – I am unsure when was the last time Morcheeba graced our city with their presence, but judging by the near capacity crowd at the Phoenix on Sunday, the answer was an implicit “too long”. In town as part of a lengthy North America tour to promote their seventh studio album Blood Like Lemonade, the London trip hop band played an absolutely splendid 110 minute set with songs that spanned their entire discography. It was a concert that surpassed all my expectations and undoubtedly left everyone a little warm on a frosty night. Taking a hint from Chris Martin, let’s take it back to the start.

I was a bit nervous about the concert prior to entering the confines of the Phoenix. Despite my appreciations for the album Blood Like Lemonade, I had heard very little press about it. The album seemed to just come and go by without much fanfare. A quick look at the charts indicated to me that the singles off that album failed to chart even in their homeland. The concert had been promoted without much fanfare and at a forty dollar charge, me and my friends had speculated it would be a sparsely attended show.

Luckily for me, I was completely wrong. Approaching the Phoenix, I was surprised to be greeted by scalpers at the front of the venue. More surprisingly, I saw people purchasing tickets from the scalpers. Entering the venue, I was shocked to find the Phoenix absolutely packed with people. Where did all these people come from? If there had ever been a further disconnect between what I perceived was popular and what was actually popular, this concert would have been exhibit A.

The band took the stage shortly after ten. On stage, Morcheeba are a six piece band, featuring a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, a man on keys, a man on decks and of course, the incomparable Skye Edwards. Donned in a flaming red home made dress and armed with hair that reached for the gods, Skye instantly commanded attention the second she took the stage. Starting with hit single The Sea (off 1998’s Big Calm) Skye used her velvety smooth voice to quickly mesmerize the crowd into a head bobbing state.

The rest of the set was a mixture of new and old. The beautiful thing about Morcheeba is that everything just transitions smoothly, whether it was the sing-along classic Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day or the new dramatic single Even Though, all the tracks just fit the Morcheeba sound – smooth and laid back vocals with groovy beats often punctuated by some slick guitar work or record scratches. The appreciative crowd seem to put the band in good spirits and Skye quickly won over the crowd with her seemingly genuine giddiness over the fans and the fact that it was indeed, a long weekend. The tracks off the new record came off as strong as any tracks off Big Calm or Charango highlighted by a wicked guitar solo at the tail end of title track Blood Like Lemonade. Only an ill advised attempt to generate a sing along to new track Beat of the Drum seemed to fall flat.

All in all, an excellent show. I didn’t get to hear Way Beyond but given the band’s vast discography, exclusions had to be expected. The band sounded crisp, Skye’s voice was magnificent and the crowd was into it. Morcheeba, I don’t know how often you tour, but I’ll be there next time you decide to visit us.

Some other tour dates
Feb 23, 2011 Minneapolis First Avenue United States
Feb 25, 2011 Aspen Belly Up Aspen United States
Feb 26, 2011 Denver Ogden Theatre United States
Mar 01, 2011 Seattle Showbox at the Market United States
Mar 03, 2011 Vancouver Commodore Ballroom Canada
Mar 04, 2011 Portland Roseland Theater United States
Mar 05, 2011 San Francisco The Warfield Theatre United States
Mar 06, 2011 Los Angeles The Music Box United States
Mar 08, 2011 San Diego House of Blues United States

Blood Like Lemonade – Morcheeba by [PIAS] Recordings

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Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

3 Responses to Concert Review: Morcheeba, February 21st, Phoenix

  1. Jesse

    Do you remember the name of the opening act?

  2. Ricky

    Hey Jesse

    I did not see the opening act.

    Sorry

    Ricky

  3. Ken

    Great review! I saw the show here in LA at the Music Box and couldn’t agree with you more. Great venue, fantastic crowd and awesome performance. Even the sing-alongs went pretty well.;)

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