I have the Best Buy salesman to thank for approaching me while I was browsing and introducing me to Amos Lee three years ago when his debut self-titled album was released. I saw him last night at the Meridian in Houston. He started with the first track off this debut album, “Keep It Lose, Keep It Tight.” He followed it up with the title track for his second album, “Supply and Demand.” When he played “Bottom of the Barrel” it sounded like a piano bar rendition, but that’s just my opinion. After all, that one got one of the best applause of the night. It was also completely different than the album version. I’m all for changing things up, if everything sounds exactly the same live as it does on recorded releases I begin to question the talent of the artist. However, this one was so modified that I had a hard time even singing along.
I really enjoyed the nice ballad entitled “Kid” from his latest album The Last Days at the Lodge. He also played “Jails and Bombs” off this record and he sounded like Robin Thick. It was the same sort of high pitched improvish vocal. In fact, this song got me thinking of a whole slew of other artists. First I thought, ‘it sounds Marvin Gaye – Al Green-ish.’ Then I heard the electric piano and the song “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by the Temptations entered my thoughts.
In case you didn’t know, Amos Lee sings “Sweat Pea” which is the song from the AT & T Wireless commercial where the little girl puts her stuffed monkey in her dad’s briefcase. Her dad then uses his phone to take scenic pictures with the monkey in the foreground and sends them to his little girl while he’s away on a business trip. He played this song for us too.
I also love the song “Black River” from his first album. I was hoping he would surprise us and bring Priscilla Ahn on-stage to duet with him since she typically provides harmonizing vocals for it. He didn’t. Oh well. He played a huge set, 19 songs to be exact. The encore then had 4 songs starting with “Better Day” which he did solo. The last song of the encore was a cover of a song that I think is titled “Caramelize Me Baby” or maybe it’s just called “Caramel.” Anyway, I didn’t know it and I don’t know who sings it but I liked it. The opening act, Mutlu, sang it while Amos and the band accompanied him. By the way, Mutlu played a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amor” during his set which was interesting and entertaining.
Overall the performance had an engaging, yet mellow, folk-soul vibe. It was low-key enough to make me feel like I was at a slow dance all night. You can catch him performing “Freedom” on Connan O’Brian this Friday, September 26th, 2008. I’ll leave you with “Shout Out Loud” off of Supply and Demand. There are no videos available yet for his new album.