Review: Amos Lee brings Rivers of Song to the Tower Theater
Philadelphia native Amos Lee took on Philadelphia’s historic Tower Theater Tuesday night as part of a tour supporting his most recent album, Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song. Lee’s soulful alt-country songwriting, classic voice and stellar backing band pleased a packed crowed and went down as a win in my book.
Lee opened his set with “Johnson Blvd”, the first track off of his latest record, a song that, between its slow build to a beautifully resolving chorus and having been written in a way that truly showcases Lee’s voice, was a very appropriate song with which to open. Continuing with Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, Lee and his band then played “Stranger”, the second track on the album, during which the combination of warm guitar and piano interaction and a taste of Lee’s falsetto made the crowd feel right at home.
Midway through his set, Lee ditched the band and played a few solo tunes, including “Dresser Drawer”, a song with a surprising backstory about Lee’s San Franciscan friend Johnny whom, after being separated from his wife, Lee visited for a period of time. “Johnny sent me a photograph on the iPhone,” Lee added, “of his wedding ring in a dresser drawer, which is really sweet. And then, 5 minutes later, I got another one, and it was a photo of his wedding ring in a dresser drawer next to some condoms.”
Still solo, Lee played a tune dedicated to his late grandfather, “Jesus”, which actually works better as a solo acoustic song than with a band. It practically goes without saying that, after bringing his band back on stage, “I’m the Man Who Wants You” got people on their feet and dancing to its soulful, groovy tempo.
Amos Lee was joined by fellow Philadelphia native Mutlu who, maybe lacking in a truly original sound, made up for it with playful lyrics and a unique brand of charisma. He got the crowd engaged with the tongue-and-cheek tune, “Board Games”, a song Mutlu describes as what you get when you try to write a sexy song about, you said it, board games. Lee brought Mutlu back on stage late in his own set to perform Mutlu’s on song, “Caramel”, which was at the very least fitting of the Thanksgiving spirit.
Amos Lee and his band have a very polished sound, and at its core is Lee’s songwriting and strikingly unique voice. It made for an excellent hometown performance, making us Philadelphians proud to call Amos Lee our own.