Indie, Folk Rock crooner Kevin Morby played a sold-out show at the Aladdin Theater Tuesday night. Having last played in Portland to an overly packed crowd at Mississippi Studios, it’s no wonder he needed to book a venue that held a much larger capacity as people poured in and filled every seat. Since his last visit to the city, Morby released a wonderful full length album, City Music, of which he opened the show with. He came out dawning a dark, prim suit with shiny, silver music notes covering it while the spoken word track “Flannery” played. As the album does, he smoothly went into the follow up track “City Music.” Him and his backing band softly played before the song picked up into a full jam session.
He kept the energy high as he went into the two most upbeat tracks off his most recent album, “1234” and “Crybaby.” Half of the venue was seated but the half closest to the stage broke into their best dance moves as Morby’s distinguished tunes swept them off their feet. Morby was earnestly excited to be in front of the Portland crowd who cheered on every word he spoke. He intermittently switched from playing guitar to playing the keys but continuously swooned the audience with his vintage, soulful sound. Meg Duffy (otherwise known as Hand Habits) had her own moments to shine as Morby’s guitar playing maven. Her solos drifted and lingered into the air and people were visibly awe struck by her talent.
An emotional moment came when Morby played “Beautiful Strangers,” a song he had written as a result of the recent gun violence in Orlando and Paris. Eyes glistened as he wholeheartedly sang, “If I die too young, let all that I’ve done be remembered. And I’ll sleep easy like baby Jesus in his manger.” Towards the end of their set, Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee) joined the band on stage, her and Morby beautifully singing a duet. Morby and his band (who mesh pristinely well together) came back out for an encore to perform crowd favorites, “I Have Been to the Mountain,” “Parade,” and “Dorothy.” Even with a bigger venue, the set felt incredibly intimate and Morby’s heartwarming performance left a personal imprint on my soul.