Live Review: Moses Sumney @ The Southbank Centre

I’m still picking up the pieces of my brain from the floor of The Southbank Centre. Blame Moses Sumney. With the perfect venue as his backdrop, he brought his delicate falsetto, intricate musicality and humour to the London crowd. He opens the set with ‘Don’t Bother Calling,’ from his 2017 debut album Aromanticism, accompanied by his band including Mercury Prize nominee Shabaka Hutchings on bass clarinet. He then moves into an orchestral take on ‘Indulge Me‘, featuring his own voice on loop, as well as the violin and guitar. What Moses Sumney is doing with his experimental take on Neo-Soul and Jazz, and his intelligent and thought-provoking lyrics is refreshing.

In the middle of the set he introduces songs from his most recent EP, Black in Deep Red, 2014, which he wrote following a protest of the murder of Mike Brown in 2014. ‘Call-To-Arms‘ showed off his experimental nature and insane creativity, including one of the most mind blowing saxophone solos. There is something so satisfying about watching a group of musicians, essentially having a jam on stage (they had only rehearsed the song once previously) and creating such incredible music.

Next, the crowd joins in to sing politically charged ‘Rank and File‘. The set finishes with an orchestral and more instrument heavy version of ‘Doomed‘, a normally extremely minimalistic song. Sumney explored the poles of his extensive range, while the lyrics capture Aromanticism best. “Am I vital if my heart is idle? Am I doomed?”

He leaves the stage to the entire audience on their feet and giving him a thunderous applause. Minutes later he is back, telling the audience how appreciative he is. “I’m blushing, but you can’t tell.” He covers Amy Winehouse’s ‘I Hear Love Is Blind’, and gets the audience involved once again for ‘Man On The Moon‘. We are allowed to harmonise with the tune he gives and it results in a beautiful sound throughout the hall. Finally, he plays ‘Plastic‘, where he takes us on a melismatic journey across his falsetto before he even sings the first line. Nobody in the room wants the song to end, Sumney included, as he drags out the final line of the song, showing of his musicality and shattering any potential doubt that he wasn’t an artist in every sense of the word.

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