Last Night: R. Stevie Moore at Hailey's Club in Denton

R. Stevie Moore, Tropical Ooze, Marriage Material, Hares on the Mountain
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Hailey's Club, Denton
June 30, 2011

Better than:

waiting in line to see Santa in the mall

Last night at Hailey's, R. Stevie Moore really lived up to his reputation. 

The singer-songwriter is just as legendary for his seemingly endless stream of material as he is for his hermit status. So, fittingly, at age 59 his first ever U.S. tour managed to feel like a performance befitting of any local bedroom. 

Firstly there were Hares on the Mountain, the Denton folk group that played right on the floor of the venue to the two dozen or so folks who showed up despite the lineup's unusually early start time. 

Then there was Marriage Material, an avant noise rock outfit that would have been just as comfortable in a DIY venue, and Tropical Ooze, easily the most polished band on the bill, maintaining an air of informality nonetheless. 

But it was clear early on that most, if not all, of the sparse Hailey's crowd was there for R. Stevie Moore alone. And he kept the living room vibe of the show going as he emerged wearing red Mickey/Minnie Mouse scrubs and black Velcro shoes, sporting a thick white Santa Claus beard and coke bottle glasses, playing a black toy bass, not giving a fuck as he blatantly kept the lyrics to each song on a music stand center stage. 

Who could blame him, though? When you have over 400 albums to your credit, you're bound to forget a word or two here and there. 

There was an aura about the night not like most shows, where those in attendance didn't just enjoy the performer on stage, but genuinely respected and held in high regard the man on stage. And, despite it being his first real tour, Moore appeared a seasoned vet nevertheless, knowing exactly when to writhe on the floor, when to run out into the crowd or when to just yell at everybody to shut up. 

From his very earliest songs, like "I've Begun to Fall in Love" to "hits" like "Sort of Way" and "Play Myself Some Music" Moore's fans were treated to louder, looser, janglier renditions of his tunes than they ever thought they'd witness as the sounds of his bedroom indie-pop recordings were finally given the live, garage-rock treatment. 

The set was filled out with older songs -- tunes like "Mason Jar" and "The Winner" from Ariel Pink's Picks, and a few newer tracks like "Carmen is Coming" from the upcoming Advanced LP, and also the seafood ode "Kix Tartar Sauce," which was clearly a nod to the fans whose donations via the Kickstarter website made the tour possible in the first place. 

After the final number, Moore went behind an amp and laid down, as if planking, and laid there for countless minutes while the crowd begged for an encore -- and yet the venue begun its weekly '80s Night staple, and the night went on without him nonetheless. 

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
Being a big fan of Moore's, I've been pumped about this show for some time. Given the amount of social media buzz I'd seen before the show, I showed up way early, sure it'd be a sellout. It was somewhat disappointing not only to find out how far it was from reaching capacity, but by how much of the crowd showed up after midnight for the '80s dance night that took place following Moore's set. 

Random Note: Moore's merch table was filled with countless homemade CD-R's with titles handwritten in Sharpie. One was an MP3 CD that contained 36 albums worth of material. 

By The Way: Stevie's father, Bob Moore, was not only Elvis Presley's bass player, but he was a session musician that played on records for Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis and pretty much everyone else that recorded in Nashville during the '60s. 

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