Old and young alike eagerly crowded the Music Box in Hollywood this past Sunday (March 6, 2011) to dance and trip out to the dream-like music of Morcheeba and The Mumlers. Morcheeba, who headlined the show, attracted fans of all ages and creeds, most of who were obviously tripping out on some form of substance. This isn’t surprising, as Morcheeba more or less translates to “the way of cannabis.” Indeed, the tang of pot smoke circled throughout the room during the entire show, adding to the ambiance of the music in a way that would’ve made the hippies proud.
The night opened up with The Mumlers, a six-piece based out of San Jose, Calif. Their 45-minute set was a powerful display of musicianship, with multiple members switching instruments more than once; indeed, the bassist switched to a deep bongo drum and set of maracas, the saxophone player switched to a clarinet, and the tuba player burst into an impressive keyboard solo that jarred the crowd with the force of a runaway train.
The group’s blend of multi-cultural, traditional, and electronic music made for an interesting listening experience. Each song sounded drastically different, with mariachi, tribal, industrial, rock, and reggae influences permeating through a melting pot of auditory pleasure. The grungy yet melodic crooning of their floppy-haired singer, who swayed and weaved like a drunk trying desperately to stay awake, sounded as though Kurt Cobain had returned and taken a more optimistic approach to music. All in all, The Mumlers got the crowd’s blood surging, with anticipation for Morcheeba running sky-high.
Amidst much smoke (both machine and human generated), Morcheeba finally hit the stage, and a roar of approval rose from the crowd, sounding eerily like a den of happy lions. Skye Edwards, dressed in a bright crimson, feathery dress (which she later claimed to have made herself), came onto the stage with a brilliant smile and a bubbling personality. Her giggles were prominent throughout the entire show as she joked about numerous subjects and randomly talked to people in the crowd.
Prior to the beginning of their set, numerous people admitted to having seen Morcheeba when they were touring with their multiple singers (during the six-year absence of Edwards), and in turn being quite enthusiastic about seeing the original singer in action. This seemed to be the general consensus of the crowd, for when Edwards walked on stage, she was greeted with ear-deafening applause and shrill whistles. Ross Godfrey, the guitarist and one of the founding members, walked on stage with a big smile on his face and a beer in his hand. It was obvious to everyone that they were anticipating the show as much as their fans.
Their first song, “The Sea” (one of their more popular singles) is a trance-like, ethereal piece that flawlessly captures audio waves lapping on the beach. The echoing guitars, slow and pulsing, accompany Edwards’ voice in a methodical and beautiful harmony. The crowd went absolutely wild, and the multitude of voices nearly drowned out the singer’s own.
A psychedelic quality pervades Morcheeba’s music, along with an undertone of deep spirituality. While the lights dimmed and fogginess swirled, kaleidoscope images spun lazily along the ceiling, forcing the crowd into trancelike submission. People danced and swayed, held each other and closed their eyes, lost in the mystical audio essence. Listening to the sounds of echoes, electronic notes, and the resonating voice of Edwards was like falling down a euphoric rabbit hole.
One particular treat for fans was a cover song by Arlo Guthrie, entitled “Coming Into Los Angeles.” Though Godfrey expressed some anxiety over their ability to play the song properly, it seemed to go well and was met with widespread approval.
“Blood Like Lemonade,” the title track of their newest album (released June 2010) was a definite joy to watch. The song’s dark lyrical content, and the way Edwards sings it live, is haunting.
The last song of the night was a special occasion for one fan: Edwards randomly beckoned him onto the stage, where he proceeded to dance and sing with her. At one point, with the fan’s help, she pirouetted with swan-like allure, her dress fluttering around her with the grace of a monarch butterfly.
For fans of Morcheeba, this certainly would’ve been the show to see. Filled with energy and upbeat attitude, this concert was one that fans will be talking about for a long time. While this author is not a fan of Morcheeba, I certainly give them credit for their musicianship and their stage presence. Check them out for a night of dancing and trip-hop!
Morcheeba at the Music Box – Set List
Never An Easy Way
Coming Into Los Angeles (Arlo Guthrie cover)
Part of the Process
Blood Like Lemonade
Beat of the Drum
Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
Photography: Ciera Leisenfelder
Words: Jeremy Bigelow
We also have a photo gallery of The Mumlers! You can check out their photos from their show at the Music Box here!