Having played a release show for his great new album City Music at Bowery Ballroom back in May, Kevin Morby returned to NYC on Thursday night as part of his tour. Wearing a different Nashville Nudie Suit -- this one with rhinestoned "K" and "M" on the lapels -- and met with great applause from a packed-to-the-gills Music Hall of Williamsburg, Morby and his ace band played a similar set to Bowery, but this one felt even more in the groove. As before, lead guitarist Med Duffy (aka Hand Habits) was the secret star of the show, delivering precision when needed (like on City Music's title track), and messy solos (the Ramones-name-checking "1234"), and atmosphere on others. The highlight of the show, though, was Kevin's main-set-ending solo performance of "Beautiful Strangers," one of the many great protest songs to come out of the last few years of political upheaval, police shootings, and social unrest. The crowd sang along making for a very moving moment.

Opening the show (and on this tour) was Shannon Lay who, as Kevin mentioned at the show, was an artist he liked so much he started a label (through Woodsist) just to release her record, which was available for the first time at Music Hall. Her set of spare, delicate, plugged-in folk had the room pretty full and pin-drop quiet at 9 PM. Pictrure from the whole show are in the gallery above.

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photos by Ester Segretto