Folk-pop wunderkind Amos Lee serenaded his fans for over two hours Sunday night at the Majestic Theater. Tift Merritt opened the show.
The Philadelphia-based Lee was nearing the end of his "Supply and Demand" tour, named for the artist's critically acclaimed second album. He said little at the beginning of his promptly started set, letting the music speak for itself. He was backed up by a keyboardist and bassist (no drums), all dressed in suits. The sound was pure, the harmonies impossibly tight.
The set list spanned all three of Lee's records, plus two covers, and five new songs; he confided to the audience that he hopes to get studio time in May to record his next album. The set included fan favorites including "Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight," "Seen it All Before," "Street Corner Preacher," and "Sweet Pea," the latter of which was made famous by an AT&T ad campaign. One of the new songs was based on a failed relationship with a touring musician from Wisconsin, which made the ladies of the house scream. "It's part how are you doing, and part f*** you," he said.
Lee's potential weakness boils down to the name of his subgenre on Amazon: "easy listening." Although many of his songs incorporate influences of old-school R&B and Bob Dylan-inspired rock, one could imagine Lee showing up on Stuff White People Like or in an NPR segment, and the demographic of the Majestic crowd reflected that. Many a tipsy middle-aged woman shouted endorsements to Lee onstage, which he either ignored or politely deflected.
This is not to say, however, that Lee is not a consummate singer, songwriter, and performer. His voice is gorgeous, and can soar from gravelly blues to perfect falsetto; the subjects of his songs range from heartbreak to civil rights. Seeing the singer live underlines the diversity of his talent. The man can switch from a mournful solo rendition of "Black River" to a Motown cover of the Growing Pains theme song without missing a beat.
As the concert went on, Lee become more relaxed. When he came out for the first encore to a rhythmically synced audience, he joked that "we weren't going to come out until y'all started clapping in unison." He added, "The thing about the Midwest is that the women are corn-fed, and I like that," before breaking out into a rendition of Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls."