'Accompanied by a bassist and a keyboardist, Moise himself held a guitar balancing its effortlessness with that of a similar effortlessness in his vocal delivery.'
Evan Dale // June 27, 2019
Something felt off from the very beginning. A secret show so far from the city center was disconcerting and strange for an artist like Moise whose modernist neo-soul is clean, formidable, and fitting of the texture of an urban setting. We were welcomed by the kind staff of SoFar Sounds, shown to a quaint suburban backyard, and immediately knew that this was not the right show.
Fuck it, I said pulling plastics cups and 3 bottles of twist-off rosé from my bag. The early spring sun was shining, the atmosphere was warm, plus we had already been cornered and questioned by the expectedly excited host of it all so leaving would be rude. A charismatic ex-teacher turned hitchhiking Americana folk artist gave us a great 45-minute set. But having received a message from Moise that his show was in fact later in the night at a foreign motorcycle shop downtown, and that we must have been shown to the wrong SoFar event, we abandoned the suburbs and the folk and headed to a place more fitting of our respective aesthetics.
Parking in Denver’s retrofitted warehouse district, River North, we immediately headed for margaritas and tacos. The restaurant was playing a carefully curated playlist coincidentally coinciding with the sonic explorations that our night was headed towards. Selections from Anderson .Paak’s Malibu, from SiR’s November, from Mahalia’s Seasons, and from Snoh Aalegra’s FEELS introduced some funk and some soul into our ever-diversifying day, while the margaritas quenched a different kind of thirst.
Before sunset, we walked a few blocks to the motorcycle shop – a retrofitted brick building lined floor to ceiling, wall to wall with a vibrant mix of classic and modern bikes. And after explaining our prior slip-up to the SoFar staff and with the aid of Moise’s word, we were let inside. The perfect venue. Aesthetically enticing, open, well-lit, and spacious, it’s unlike anywhere we’d ever seen a show before, and alike everything we wish to see but rarely ever do in a venue.
With confidence, quietness, and an unmistakable smirk, Moise was recognizable from far. We approached him and his band, made long-overdue in-person introductions, and found ourselves a spot on the shop floor. The audience was a sea defining of Denver’s diverse music scene. Other than flannel and brown boots, there was little to connect the crowd stylistically. These SoFar shows seem to attract a wide range of people, some for the swatch of music, some for the love of an intimate artistic setting, some for the experience of something so unique, but all for respect of the kind of performance that is simply so difficult to find – especially, we assume, nowadays.
Moise led it off. Accompanied by a bassist and a keyboardist, Moise himself held a guitar balancing its effortlessness with that of a similar effortlessness in his vocal delivery. Led by an impossibly wide array of instrumental styling, a soft register, and an innate ability for unearthing higher and higher range, Moise and his band’s music is difficult to define. His debut project, Amongst the Leaves, is defining of that lack of definability, covering a broad area of R&B, neo-soul, rock, funk, and mellow pop spectrums in less than 20 minutes. And his set, covering about the same amount of time, unearthed just as many emotive and stylistic ranges.
We sat on concrete, made comfortable in equal parts by the music and the rosé, singing along as undoubtedly some of his truest fans, and joined by a larger force during his honorable rendition of Childish Gambino’s Sober. The scene was humorous, warm, and enticing on all fronts, and one of the best shows we’ve ever had the opportunity of being a part of.
In juxtaposition to Moise’s own styling, a hip-hop / R&B duo followed suit, finalized by a courageously emotional set from a spoken word poet. There was high energy, there were tears, and Moise played an important swaying middle-ground to it all. It was a bold and conversed exhibition of range and underratedness from three groups that deserved all the ground-shaking applause they received that night in the foreign motorcycle shop.
After the audience funneled through the doors and out into the bar neighborhood surrounding, Moise and his crew hung around for a spur-of-the-moment photoshoot atop a custom Ducati. Humble and happy, Moise posed for no more than two minutes before wheeling the bike back to the owner and accompanying us outside in waiting for an Uber.
Moise’s crew and ours joined forces, made a night of celebrating their last in Denver, and promised to reconnect soon, both pushed unendingly by the pursuit of art, quality, and damn good times. Nothing but fervent recommendations for both Moise and SoFar events.