James Vincent McMorrow showcased his amazing vocals at Club Soda on April 3, playing songs from both his first album, Early in the Morning, and his new album, Post Tropical.
The show started off with a great performance by the Victoria-based artist Aidan Knight. He performed songs from his debut album, Small Reveal. The chilling sounds of the band, (which were made up of a violin, a trumpet, guitars, and a Wurlitzer), mixed with Knight’s soothing vocals and got the crowd in the right mood for what was to come.
Once McMorrow hit the stage, magic ensued. Accompanied by his band, McMorrow began the show by playing some of his lesser known and more recent songs, like “The Lakes,” “Hear the Noise,” and “Glacier.” His signature falsetto filled the room, silencing the previously rowdy audience.
Between songs, McMorrow told the crowd about his misadventures during his North American tour. Early on, he caught strep throat, and had to cancel a show. He quickly recovered, only to be stopped at the border because one of his managers had “stuff in his past”, which he had failed to tell the rest of the group. The band then had to deal with their bus breaking down, and had to get a lift to their Vancouver show by one of the members of Aidan Knight’s band, even though this meant she would miss a big part of the show.
McMorrow laughed while recounting these stories, telling the audience that he was probably overdue to write his autobiography. He said that, while most of the book would be quite boring, the last little part would be a real “page-turner.”
McMorrow waited until the end of the show to play crowd favorites like “We Don’t Eat,” his latest single “Cavalier,” “And If My Heart Should Somehow Stop” and “If I Had a Boat.”
His performance of “We Don’t Eat” was particularly memorable. The layering of instruments—McMorrow alternated between the guitar and the drums—and incredible vocals made the song even more chilling than the recorded version, and, towards the end, much more dramatic. Although McMorrow apologized for getting “a little screamy,” the audience adored the performance.
The crowd begged for McMorrow to perform his version of Steve Windwood’s “Higher Love,” the song that put him on the map two years ago. He said that he rarely played the song anymore but that, since the crowd had been so amazing, he would play it. It is safe to say that to crowd went wild, singing every lyric along with him.
The band had to deal with a few technical issues towards the end of the show: the keyboard had, according to McMorrow “exploded.” The quality of the music was not affected in any way. One of these unfortunate technical issues, which caused an extremely unpleasant and loud screeching sound, occurred in the middle of a song, after a technician tried to fix the issue. McMorrow then jokingly asked “Where was I?”, so the crowd answered, yelling the lyrics at him. He then laughed, saying that he did know the lyrics, and that he was “familiar with this song,” but thanked the audience anyway.
The show ended, not surprisingly, on a high note.