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Live Review: Langhorne Slim – Baby’s All Right, Williamsburg
If Sean Scolnick had the geographic knowledge of GPS, the Pennsylvania native folkie would’ve made his stage name Feasterville Slim, not Langhorne Slim. This was one of the many banter bits that he shared with the audience at the Baby’s All Right sold-out, solo performance on March 3rd in Williamsburg, New York.
The set list surprised me because he didn’t break into his raw, rock voice right away. He sang the first few songs in a gentler, tender tone. The opening song, with a typical Langhorne rhythm and key – capo three seems to be his favorite – informed listeners that he’s “going through changes” and “rattling cages” battling addiction to reach sobriety. Unless this song was an old tune that hasn’t appeared on a previous record, it’s a great first sign of the new Langhorne Slim & The Law, which is currently in its mastering stage and slated for release later this year.
He continued with fan favorites Restless and Coffee Cups. While Restless was more on the upbeat side, both tunes stood out with catchy melodies and honest lyrics. He confesses, “I felt restless and I felt soft. Didn’t know anymore who I was ripping off…Just don’t know what it is to be free” reflecting monotony and writers block frustration. Then, on a more intimate, slower number he pondered “It’s early in the morning, what are we doing up still drinking wine out of coffee cups?” and echoed his touring life, “last week I was in a foreign town I was a tourist then and I’m a tourist now in the town that I live in I guess that’s fine too.”
Langhorne kept us intrigued when he said, “For the next seven minutes I’m going to tell a story and play the guitar to create dramatic effect.” He grew up in a cul-de-sac where all the experimental adolescents would hang out and do those adolescent things. But one day during a cul-de-sac communion, he was graced with the presence of an older girl, and as they quickly became acquainted, she told him “I’m only here for another day” and kissed him. This “wild and insecure” cul-de-sac experience became relevant as Langhorne belted out the opening line to Fire.
Perhaps that experience inspired the next song, from the perspective of the girl whose fire he caught. “We passed a graveyard and held our breath, we better kiss if we’re getting closer to death.” Ever since this infatuation Langhorne Worries that the excitement this girl ignited won’t ever be matched.
Another highlight was Song For Sid, a tribute to his grandfathers, Sidney and Jack. When he sang the opening line, “As the earth stood still, Sid began to move” the audience stood motionless. His soulful lyrics permeated the still air as we listened in total silence.
When Langhorne returned to the stage for his encore set, I yelled out On the Attack. He responded, “Can’t let any of my fans down even though I haven’t performed that one in a while” and proceeded to sing the song as if it was a set standard. For the grand finale he performed an acoustic rendition of Past Lives, which was recorded on piano on the latest release The Way We Move. To cap the night, with microphone stand in audience, he belted the rest of the song proving that his solo act easily contains as much energy as a set with The Law.
Scott J. Herman