Langhorne Slim sounds like nights made of 'bad decisions and dancing'
Langhorne Slim’s music often sounds like hot, sweaty summer nights made up of bad decisions and dancing -- and last Friday night at The Tractor was an evening just like that.
As Slim rose to the stage, his fedora outlining his recognizable silhouette, he rapid assaulted his guitar with strums as his backing band The Law prompted danceable grooves behind him. Slim may be a folk artist, but he and his band have a Glam Rock attitude with a Southern Rock response.
Many of the songs centered on recklessness, such as his minor hit “Wrong Side of Heaven,” with raucous rhythms and excited guitar lines.
“Most all of these songs are going to be a dance songs in some way,” Slim said part way into the beginning of his set. Jumping up and down Slim hit his head on a hanging speaker, but simply gave it an inquisitive look before going back to zipping back and forth between his band mates -- nothing was going to stop him from riling up the crowd.
Before Slim, the audience was warmed up by two local groups. Starting things off on the mellow end of things was Tiny Messengers, a brooding country outfit fronted by Kimo Muraki (formerly of Seattle indie rock band Fences). Muraki’s striking voice threw call backs to Jeremy Enigk but with a more smooth tone. If Slim is the fun loving teenager, Muraki and the Tiny Messengers were the heart broken college grads. The mix of banjo and steel guitar gave a darker and melancholic atmosphere as people filtered in to the Tractor.
Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground came on stage next with their 11-piece band. For fans of the bands last two albums, including 2011’s Introducing Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, this performance may have been a shock. The group played primarily new material which was less quirky, grandiose indie rock and more grooving soul and funk.
Front man Kirk Huffman wore a sports coat and sunglasses and he took on the persona of a lounge singer. The crowd was impressively responsive and got their dancing warmed up just in time for Slim and his band.
While it was definitely a departure from their previously established sound, it was definitely a successful attempt as far as crowd response was concerned.
Kay Kay set a great bar of energy level, but Slim was able to see their challenge with a ‘check and mate.’ With his cracking vocals and body convulsions, Slim is a remarkable persona in the folk realm.