Moses Sumney At The Bootleg Theater, Monday June 3rd 2013
Moses Sumney was opening for KING at the Bootleg theater on Monday night and he couldn’t believe it! He was nervous and simply phenomenal, humble and very funny, starting with a ‘I know you came to see KING but there’s me before, sorry!’ May be it was a way to hide his anxiety and shyness about his art – I read that, when he was living with his parents, he would write songs avidly but hide them inside his mattress!
However, Moses was interacting with the crowd in the cutest fashion, doing a little of talking about himself, ‘I am from a lot of places’, he said – he was born in San Bernardino from Ghanaian parents – and profusely thanking the crowd to be so kind to him. But why wouldn’t they have been kind to him? He was truly amazing, most of the time building his layered songs with his only voice, recording loops of harmonies, finger clapping, and hummed melodies, then layering them and singing his song at the top of this one-man-a-cappella vocal choral.
He took an electric or an acoustic guitar for some of the songs and sang delicate melodies in a more traditional way, with soulful and emotional vocals that were so elastic he could do whatever he wanted with them. He had in fact a unique way with melancholic melodies, that seemed to reveal as much about his personality as his ability to mix different influences from jazz, soul, R&B, folk,… just listen to the beautifully complex and soaring song, ‘Dwell in the Dark’ below!
With his live looping technique, he was sometimes harmonizing with himself to infinity, bringing emotion during a stripped down cover of a song by pop-dance-girl-group Pussycat Dolls, and believe me it is not easy – by the way, he also covers James Blake’s ethereal ‘Lindisfarne’ and Lianne La Havas’ Lost & Found’.
Finalist for the UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival in 2012, he looked comfortable while performing but couldn’t hide his anxiety between the songs, … ‘I have been doing this for two years and it doesn’t stop being scary’ he said at one point while he had visibly already made a huge impression on the crowd. As a matter of fact, people were chanting for an encore, a totally rare thing for an opener! He will continue to open for KING’s June residency at the Bootleg, and I guess we will hear again about him soon.