Morcheeba at the Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, March 3 2011
– review by Rebecca Apostoli/photos by Tamara Lee
Beauty. Elegance. Class.
Such are the values Skye Edwards, reunited with trip-hop group Morcheeba, brought to the Commodore on the evening of Thursday, March 3rd. An authentic throwback to the more glamorous times of soul singers and immaculately presented ingénues, Ms. Edwards took the stage in pure style and with little pause for effect, and launched into full-blown numbers such as “The Sea”, “Friction” and “Part of the Program”. With a mellow sound as smooth and sexy as Edward’s inimitable voice, the band was tight from the get-go and pumped the crowd with flawless guitar lines, throbbing bass and big-ass beats.
Touring in support of Blood Like Lemonade, Morcheeba‘s first release with Edwards in nine years, the band seems to have hardly skipped a beat since 2002’s Charango – although the crowd of adoring fans obviously had been anxiously awaiting their return (and, more importantly, avec Edwards).
To turn and see a few dozen jaws ajar, eyes transfixed, heads and bodies undulating in perfect synchronicity demonstrates the hypnotic charm and almost theatrical control Edwards commands over a crowd. She displays an effortless grace in perfectly phrasing a lyric and delivering it with both conviction and emotion, along with a self-awareness speaking of both maturity and vulnerability. If there ever was a modern-day singer that captures the spirit of a young Billy Holiday, it is Skye Edwards.
On “Never Was An Easy Way”, guitarist Ross Godfrey ripped solos fueled by pure passion and free-flowing musical mojo – nary a macho ego-driven wank to be heard. In fact, the whole band seemed to emote that dry brand of humble Brit charm that is a rare treat to see for such a lauded act.
Morcheeba then proceeded to win this reviewer’s heart by treating the Commodore to a raucous cover of Arlo Guthrie’s classic tune “Coming into Los Angeles” that had the band channeling ’60s psych-rock and which prompted many a joint to be lit among the audience. Although Edwards admitted previously falling victim to our curiously strong BC bud, she good naturedly reminisced smoking up with old school fans in Vancouver and dedicated “Slow Down“ to the hardcore ‘Cheeba-heads.
Overall this concert was reassuring, like something that is lost and then found again. In a music biz filled with money-grabbing reunion tours and a lot of over-the-hill has-beens STILL milking it, it’s comforting to see a reunion that not only reaches previous heights but often surpasses them.