Posted by Eli Cohen
On Nov. 4 neo-soul artist Amos Lee played at Albany's unique venue The Egg, delivering an electric two-hour show in the three-fourths sold out concert hall. With a new album, "Mission Bell" to be released in Jan., Lee made sure to keep a diverse set list, with many brand new songs as well as fan favorites.
The crowd was a much different age-range than would be expected at such a show. While there were plenty of attendees who looked to be fresh out of college, the majority of concertgoers were middle-aged. This perhaps has to do with Lee's blues/soul style, which was complemented by his new tracks that fall more under the country category.
As smoothly-seamed as the set list's grouping was, it was still very clear what the order of the show was meant to be. The first half of the show was filled with new country tracks. These songs felt decidedly weak and powerless when compared to the rich, well-developed sound that his previous songs have contained.
One factor that marked Lee as not only an artist, but also an entertainer, was his easy, unassuming relationship with his audience. But let's face it — with many of today's pop-culture "musicians" (yes, I'm looking at you, Ying-Yang Twins, Little Wayne and 30H!3), having entertainment value is often seen as more important than actual musical ability.
However, Lee seems to possess both the poise and balance that allows him to interact freely with the audience, even when faced with the most frustrating problems, such as bandmates not showing up when cued. "Well," Lee sighed soulfully (and all the women swoon), "I guess that means it's story time."
He proceeded to give an earnest, detailed account of what exactly went into the making of his latest record, neither shying bashfully from its flaws nor feeling any need to boast or glorify attributes. "Nice of you to join us," Lee said as he watched his bandmates file sheepishly on stage and pick up their instruments. Lee calmly finished his story before launching into a soulful rendition of his audience-requested "Black River."
For all of this good, there were several very weak aspects of the show. Lee's best-known song, "Sweet Pea," did not generate as much energy as it should have. "Sweet Pea" is a long song where the beauty lies in the simplicity, both lyrically and musically. However, Lee's attempt to change up the song for his new tour left much to be desired. It's not that it is a bad thing to change a song for a live audience; Lee simply just did not go far enough.
Overall, as predicted, Lee did not disappoint. His passion for his craft is palpable when in the same room. I guess that means it's story time.
Eli Cohen is a junior who likes to talk about music.