"It's a been a dream to headline and sell out Bowery Ballroom, so I'm glad you're all here," said a spirited Kevin Morby midway through his set at the NYC Lower East Side venue. It was almost a record release for his new album City Music, except it's not out for a couple more weeks, but he looked celebratory in a white Nudie Suit covered in musical notes and emblazoned with a rhinestoned "City Music" on the jacket's tails.

Morby kicked off with City Music’s title track, followed by a handful of others off the record, including "Aboard My Train" and "1,2,3,4" which namechecks the Ramones and references Jim Carroll. The new album is about New York and sounds like it too, with a strong Lou Reed vibe to a lot of it. Morby laid down a two-chord grooves while Meg Duffy (aka Hand Habits) provided immeasurable help on lead. (She really makes this lineup.) This was only the second show of the tour, but they sounded like they'd been living these songs for a while.

After songs from his three previous albums -- opener John Andrews came out and played actual singing saw on the song "Singing Saw" -- Kevin let the band take a break while he did a few solo numbers, including his moving non-LP single "Beautiful Strangers" which he dedicated to Manchester. The band then came back for a few more songs, and he welcomed Sam Cohen for a show-closing cover of The Velvet Underground's "Rock & Roll." City music indeed. Pictures from the whole night are in the gallery above.

You can catch Kevin at Boston Calling this weekend and at other dates on his tour. Check out all upcoming Kevin Morby dates here. Meg has a Hand Habits show at Park Church Co-Op soon.


photos by Ebru Yildiz