An Intimate Concert Exclusively for Citi Cardmembers
A LocalBozo.com Concert Review
Town Hall, New York, NY
May 1, 2014
Concert Review: Ray LaMontagne at Town Hall
In many ways, Thursday night’s entirely intimate Ray LaMontagne show presented by Citi at Town Hall was a very old fashioned affair. The crowd, while no doubt enjoying every moment of the show, sat in their seats- appreciative, patient, stoic even. There was no elaborate stage setup to speak of and no intricate light show. Just a black curtain, LaMontagne and his four piece backing band. Performing exclusively for Citi cardmembers on the heels of the release of his fifth studio album “Supernova,” which dropped last week, LaMontagne’s eighty minute set meshed elements of folk, blues and rock in featuring most of his new material.
Taking centerstage amid a cloud of darkness, the lights slowly got brighter revealing the bearded LaMontagne positioned with his mates. Unpretentiously dressed in a denim shirt and black feathered hat, the raspy voiced singer carefully paced through song after song without spending much time addressing the audience to their increasingly vocal dismay. LaMontagne, a somewhat reclusive performer, proved to be more musician than showman, opting not to cater to the catcalls of a crowd begging to be acknowledged. Instead, almost shyly, he greeted the New York City faithful only briefly before resuming along the path of his chosen setlist. In fact, often times during the performance, dual spotlights would shine on his bandmates leaving the singer in the dark- perhaps a metaphor for where LaMontagne is most comfortable on stage.
To LaMontagne’s credit, the show was far more rocking than we had anticipated- likely a result of some new experimentation on his latest album- despite a mostly tepid crowd. Though the undeniably sweet “No Other Way” might have fit in with some of his earlier recordings, tracks like the blues fueled “Smashing,” the psychadelic “Julia” and the downright catchy “Ojai,” were all notable and somehow seamless departures down an exciting new avenue for the singer-songwriter. Meanwhile, the faster paced title track “Supernova” and feel good closer “Drive-In Movies” were the show’s true standouts, even while sandwiching the raw performance of perennial crowd-pleaser “Meg White.”
Ray LaMontagne has been favorably compared to a number of different musicians, but it’s hard to recall a more unique performance by such a reluctant performer. As the show progressed and the crowd continually begged for some banter, LaMontagne eventually obliged. Pressed with how he was feeling, LaMontagne quipped, “How am I feeling? Like a million bucks,” to which the audience exploded with applause. He continued, “I may not have a million bucks, but I feel like a million bucks,” a somehow fitting and relatable response for an everyman musician, who just so happens to be super talented.
Ray LaMontagne returns for a second intimate concert at Town Hall in New York City Exclusively for Citi Cardmembers tonight, May 2nd.
- Jane Van Arsdale