This week marked the release of Moby’s eleventh studio album, Innocents. The album has been met with favorable reviews, despite the different direction Moby has gone with his musical endeavors. In an age haunted by dubstep and repetitive EDM, Moby has turned a complete 180 degrees on the scene and released an electronica album that, well, that just isn’t EDM. In fact, the album features many guest vocalists, including Cold Specks and Wayne Coyne (of the Flaming Lips); Innocents features backup choirs of gospel singers and a string section that dominates the album’s melodic content.
Moby puts the turntables and MIDI controllers to rest and he pulls out his guitars and other acoustic instruments to create an album so intimate, ambient, lively and unique in an era of electronic music that seems to be dominated by womp-womps, wub-wubs, wobblies and other onomatopoeic dubstep noises. It’s important to realize that Innocents doesn’t feel like a man playing with his MIDI controllers, turntables and samples– rather, it feels like an honest, transparent collaboration between Moby and his band of talented musicians. This album shows that Moby hasn’t lain to rest his passionate blues and soulful roots.
The quick review of Moby’s new album serves as a necessary preface to the review of Moby’s live concert at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood, because Moby hardly ever plays sets with live bands (watch his Live: Hotel Tour DVD to get an idea of what it sounds like).
The first half of the set consisted of songs from the new record. On stage accompanying Moby included almost everyone that collaborated with him on the album: a drummer, a bass player, a cellist, violinist, a choir of soulful singers and various guest singers including Skylar Grey, Inyang Bassey, Damien Jurado, and Mark Lanegan (of Queens of the Stone Age). The one exception was Wayne Coyne, who is featured on the track “A Perfect Life.”
Instead of Coyne, there was another special guest appearance: Mayor Eric Garcetti. Garcetti came on stage and started noodling on the keyboard like he does it for a living. The song was absolutely beautiful and Garcetti was surprisingly amazing, his solo jazzy and soulful.
mxdwn got a chance to talk with Garcetti afterwards: he has been playing piano since he was five. He and Moby met at a campaign fundraiser and they’ve played together multiple times. He said, “not a lot of people know this, but Moby is a political junkie.”
The second set, which was of his greatest hits, was full of Moby’s classic high-energy songs. It was amazing how different the two sets were. The audience was grooving to the beats, which ranged from songs you might hear at a rave, to downtempo, ambient tunes accompanied by Moby and his acoustic guitar. The set included songs such as “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?,” “Porcelain,” “South Side,” “We Are All Made of Stars,” “Honey,” “Raining Again,” “Disco Lies,” “Natural Blues” and “Feeling So Real.”
According to his website: “These three shows will be the only shows on the Innocents tour, my first since 2011 and the only full live shows I will be playing this year or next.” Ominous, unfortunate words for Moby fans the world over.