Fresh from back-to-back arena concerts opening for the Dave Matthews Band in Buffalo and Nassau, singer-songwriter Amos Lee pulled into The Egg in Albany last Thursday, playing to only a half-filled house at the intimate Swyer Theatre.
Fortunately, the downsizing of his crowd didn’t seem to bother Lee one bit.
Offering a blend of funk, folk and infectious pop, Lee and his band took the stage for a casual, crowd-pleasing show that not only showcased some of the best of his previous work, but also offered a sneak peek at his upcoming album, “Mission Bell,” which was produced by Joey Burns of Calexico.
The upcoming Blue Note Records album – not slated for release until the end of January – sounds promising, indeed, if the lilting country-rock ballad “El Camino” is any indication. The contagious “Flower” and the cruisin’ “The Windows Are Rolled Down” were also stand-out tracks, hinting that Lee might be on the verge of finally breaking out of his cult status and into the mainstream.
Fellow Philadelphia singer-songwriter Mutlu goes by the one name professional moniker. Hey, why not with such a cool first name? He’s been in the concert game for about five years opening for the likes of Joe Jackson and Hall & Oates.
With a hand full of solid originals – especially “Boardwalk,” a sexy, funny and romantic tour-de-force sung in a seductive Usher-meets-Barry White bedroom voice – Mutlu had the audience eating out of his hand and cheering for more at the end of his half-hour set. It’s always great when an opener energizes the audience for the headliner, and Mutlu certainly did just that. And more – he also switched gears to join Lee’s band for their headlining set.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Michael Eck’s review at The Times Union