Monday, July 1, 2013

What You May Have Missed: John Michael Rouchell at Mercury Lounge

John Michael Rouchell: June 24, 2013 @ Mercury Lounge, New York, NY 

Last week, I made a stop at Mercury Lounge to catch NOLA's John Michael Rouchell.  I became a fan of JM's what, three or four years ago...when I happened to catch him at the same venue.  He had been performing under the moniker MyNameIsJohnMichael and they came equipped with horns and trash cans.  This trip, he came with a slimmed down, highly effective and seriously bad ass band consisting of Joe Dyson, Jr. (drums), Max Moran (bass) and Joe Shirley (keyboards).  Those dudes are seriously tight, I mean seriously tight.

I wasn't sure how things were going to play out without the horns but, I was already digging the new songs from his recently released gem, The Separation EP, and was excited to hear them live, especially, "Wounded Heart" and "Holler" which have gotten a considerable amount of play around the office.  I wasn't let down.  Always an excellent live act, JM seemed even more on point than when I last took in a show.  When you're consistently good live, it's often hard to top yourself but, I do believe he did just that, topped himself.  Dare I say this is the best I've heard him?  He seemed, for lack of a better word, rejuvenated.  His always high energy show seemed even more intense.  In the past, I always gleamed a definite NOLA vibe in his sound.  With the new music, while JM is distinctly NOLA, his sound took less from that and leaned more towards R&B and soul.  I heard a soul singer.  We were treated to the aforementioned songs as well as a new song "Heartbeat" in the tight nine-song set.  All in all, it was one of those shows that left you with the one word response of, 'damn!'  

More photos HERE