Moby: Live Last Night


Live Last Night

By Mark Jenkins

Late Friday at the 9:30 club, when Moby dedicated a song to "everyone here who is still a recovering raver," he was including himself. But the maker of such dance-club bangers as "Go" and "Body Rock" actually seemed pretty well recovered. Although the after-midnight show included some electro classics, Moby and his five-member band emphasized live music over synthetic.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

With significant assistance from gospel belter Inyang Bassey and torch singer Kelli Scarr, Moby surveyed his almost 20-year career for nearly two hours.

Essentially, he played three kinds of songs: soundtracky pieces that melded stately piano motifs, synth whooshes and disco pulses; trad-goes-techno thumpers that contrasted full-throated vocals with house beats; and mid-tempo dance-punk tunes in the manner of New Order or David Bowie. Although he sometimes switched to keyboards or congas, Moby played mostly guitar, which tended to push all three kinds of material in the direction of boogie- or prog-rock.

Chatty as always, Moby endorsed D.C. statehood and compared his set's longest song, the Canned Heat-like "Honey," to the interminable movie "Australia." While engaging, such comments slowed the pace and interrupted the groove. The musical heat did build as Moby moved from the low-key songs of his new album, "Wait for Me," to the guitar-free frenzy of the final number, "Feeling So Real." Yet sheer communal release was in short supply.

Moby may remember late-'80s warehouse dance parties fondly, but his 9:30 performance was a concert, not a rave.

By David Malitz |  September 21, 2009; 11:33 AM ET Live Last Night
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