The comparisons between Langhorne Slim and Bob Dylan are understandable. One look at the folk singer’s porkpie hat and a quick listen to a track from any one of his half-dozen releases prove that this is an artist who practically bleeds Americana (although we ask that you please not shank the man in an attempt to prove/disprove my theory). However, after watching Langhorne Slim’s performance at the Hotel Café, there is a different ‘60s icon I feel a need to mention.
The swirling of the artist’s hips, the dropping to his knees while playing with his guitar overhead, the stage presence that comes off as both polished and unpredictable…he was like Jimi Hendrix with an acoustic. Thankfully he didn’t set anything on fire at the end of his set (I don’t think Hotel Café would ventilate that well and all those red curtains would burn like nobody’s business), but he definitely provided the audience with an experience.
It seems fitting that the set opened with “Back to the Wild,” a track off Langhorne Slim’s recently released album, “Be Set Free.” Watching the performance was something like observing a large feline in its man-made habitat at a zoo. Even before the set started, I could see the gears turning in his head as he studied the edges of the small stage, assessing the boundaries of his territory for the night. He would continually push these boundaries throughout the performance, balancing himself on the bass drum one minute and hopping down to sit of the edge of the stage the next. He jumped, kneeled, swayed, and danced over every inch of that stage and a bit of the audience area too, pacing in front of the tables during the appropriately titled song “Restless” until the lyrics forced him back to the microphone.
Even on the slower songs of the set, such as the slinky/bluesy/sexy “For a Little While,” a impatient energy pervades Langhorne Slim’s music. Not to imply that the artist ever seems eager for the show to end. On the contrary, I think the impatience stems from his understanding that he only has two hands but a whole lot of people who haven’t seen what they can do with a guitar. I get the feeling if we kept rotating audience members in and out of the room, he would play all night, or at least until the bands scheduled after him forced him to relinquish the mic. Like that lion/tiger/cheetah (I never decided upon a specific large feline), I don’t think the artist would necessarily give up the stage without a fight, but with a nationwide tour and the new album garnering the artist attention from both fans and industry professionals, it seems to be only a matter of time before Langhorne Slim’s territory will be completely without boundaries.
Langhorne Slim took some time to talk to LA Music Blog before his set at the Hotel Café, and he even obliged us with a song. Enjoy!
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