My girlfriend Steph and I went to the Bellhouse in Brooklyn, NY last night to see "Legendary Artist" R. Stevie Moore perform a stop on his "2011 World Tour". We showed up about an hour into the event to find out that RSM and his opening acts would be playing the Bellhouse's front room, and the light crowd swarming the front bar confirmed just that.
After a couple of decent indie openers, RSM took the stage; a psychedelic Santa Claus clad in bright red velour Monopoly pajama pants, a Rutgers University ball cap, and a shirt that looked "fitting" (pun intended) for an overweight mother of three… circa 1994. His snow white beard and foggy oversized glasses shook vigorously as he wrestled to untangled a mess of power cables that strangled his various effect pedals. Finally, RSM grabbed his Ibanez bass, (which was covered with a collage made of what appeared to be the lingerie section from an old JC Penny catalog) plucked the E string, and began to tune before almost instantly breaking into the first song.
(Above: a song he didn't play last night).
When a musician who allegedly has hundreds of releases (mostly on cassettes and VHS, offered to members of his New Jersey-based home tape club mailing list) takes the stage, it's generally a wild card as to what songs to expect. After winging one somewhat sloppy opening song, the pace really began to pick up as RSM and band locked in and loosened up. RSM fired away with some hilarious banter between songs, and lyrically freestyled during songs making for a continuously entertaining experience. From bellowing heart-felt rants about love to nailing high notes about kids and their drug habits, RSM sounded right in key, on time, and full of energy.
Throughout the set, RSM often became vibrantly emotional and enthusiastic about song topics and at one point he tore at his beard until tufts of beard hair could be seen circling his head for a moment before floating to the floor. At other times he stared directly into the stage lights and froze like an abductee locked in the tractor beam of a hovering UFO.
R. Stevie Moore rocked, and his back up band were perfect for the gig and not some group of undeserving attention-starved hipsters for once. The good news is that there's a documentary on RSM coming soon, as well as (countless) more songs and records.
"I Like To Stay Home" VIDEO
- R. Stevie Moore Phonography reissue on Sundazed
- Meet The R. Stevie Moore Double LP on Get Back!
- Countless self-released cassettes, CDs, and unofficial, out of print LPs.
R. Stevie Moore 2011 World Tour Dates
6.13.11 Providence, Soft Approach
6.14.11 Boston, Church
6.15.11 Philly, Johnny Brenda's
6.16.11 Baltimore, TBA
6.18.11 Pittsburgh , Modern Formations Gallery
6.19.11 Detroit ,The Magic Stick
6.20.11 Bloomington , The Bishop
6.22.11 Chicago , The Empty Bottle
6.23.11 Milwaukee , The Cactus Club
6.25.11 Minneapolis , 400 Bar
6.26.11 Blue Moose Taphouse
6.27.11 Kansas City , The Riot Room
6.30.11 Denton , Hailey's
7.1.11 Austin , Emo's Outside
7.2.11 Little Rock, AR - White Water Tavern
7.3.11 Memphis , Hi-Tone
7.5.11 Nashville , Exit/In
7.6.11 Athens , Farm225
7.7.11 Asheville , The Grey Eagle
7.8.11 Raleigh , King's Barcade
7.9.11 Greensboro, NC - The Blind Tiger
7.22.11 MIDI Festival, HyŽres, France
7.29.11 Creepy Teepee Festival, Prague