Daniel Merriweather last night at New York’s Webster Hall. “I’ve got to make rent this month. So I’ll be selling CDs in back after this. Yeah, It’s come to that.” He was joking. I think. Merriweather’s far from a struggling artist. Signed to Mark Ronson‘s Allido Records, he’s a big deal in the U.K., but has yet to experience matching success in the States. Just before the show Daniel causally smoked a cigarette with friends in front of the venue. Few that came to see Corinne Bailey Rae, who he was opening for, recognized him.“I’ve got this problem,” confessed Aussie soul man
The brief performance that followed, however, was one to remember. In a denim shirt, black tee, and matching pants, Merriweather started off with “Getting Out,” the heavy mid-tempo cut from his 2009 debut set Love & War. With his guitarist and piano man in tow, he followed with a stellar cover of Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” and closed with his latest single, “Red.”
“Like I said,” Merriweather repeated before thanking Rae for the tour invite and leaving the stage. “I’m selling CDs. I’m broke. Go buy it.” I’m pretty sure Merriweather will make rent this month.
Next came Bailey Rae. In her gold sequined dress, she began with a white guitar singing her airy ballad “Are You Here.” She had three additional guitarists, a drummer, and a keyboardist backing her. Bailey Rae continued with “Like a Star.” Her set felt intimate. With 1,400 fans inside, Webster Hall was filled to capacity, but more than a few couples found space to slow dance, and a few others used her mood music to make out.
“I want to play you one of my favorite songs,” Bailey Rae said as she dropped her guitar. The keyboard’s chords turned organ-like, kicking off a reggae rendition of “I Only Have Eyes For You.” She shook a tambourine for her 2006 hit “Put Your Records On” and returned to the guitar on “Seasons Change.” Her soothing English pipes never fluttered or faltered during her 90 minutes on stage. Before floating off to the next city, Bailey Rae performed the title track of her latest album, “The Sea.” “She’s like an angel up there,” said one woman to her friends. Agreed.
Have you seen Corinne Bailey Rae perform? What’s the best show you’ve seen this year? Let us know.
(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter:@EWMusicMix.)
More from EW.com’s Music Mix: