Live Music Review // Kath Bloom / Damon and Naomi / Mountain Movers @ The Institute Library, New Haven CT May 11th, 2024

Additional photos can be found in an album on Facebook located here :::

When I first heard about this show via the Mountain Movers social media I knew I had to go but I didn't know what the Institute Library was.   I went to the ticket link I had found- which took me to Eventbrite- and when I attempted to buy tickets on my laptop there was no option for it.  I panicked, thinking this show was sold out and I had blown my chance to go, but when I went to the link on my phone a window popped up to buy tickets so I didn't hesitate.  

Tickets might not have sold out before I bought them, but they likely sold out the night of the show.   This was at capacity and was standing room only.   Every chair was full and everyone in the audience was completely into every moment of music at this show.  This felt like such a special night because to see either Kath Bloom or Damon and Naomi headline their own show would be amazing but to have them together just made this feel like an even bigger deal.  

This is not in any way to discredit the Mountain Movers, who are a big deal in their own right and are one of my current favorite artists to listen to, especially live.  Sometimes I think that living in Connecticut and having this CT Music Scene that we do, we kind of get spoiled and take for granted that we have all of these amazing artists just within our own state.   But as much as you might think of Mountain Movers as a local opener on this show, they have that universal appeal and are known seemingly everywhere.

One thing that I love about Mountain Movers that people might not know about them or realize about them is how adaptive they are with their sound.   Seeing them open for Shirese and Xiu Xiu at different times even presented different experiences, sort of matching with the overall sound of the other artists.   With this show, Dan Greene had his acoustic guitar but never played the electric one.  The percussion was minimal and acoustic feeling, just giving this an overall type of chill vibe in ways.   

Believe me, if you've seen Mountain Movers before you know they can be loud.  They're playing a show on June 1st with Upper Wilds that I feel is going to be loud.  But this was a more laid back, almost reserved type of sound, complete with a few songs off of their new double album which is coming out in just three days from now.  I wouldn't 100% call this Mountain Movers set "unplugged", but it was definitely some hybrid between that and the normal electric set.   It's just one of those reasons why I will never tire of seeing the Mountain Movers because it feels like they never play the same set twice.

Damon and Naomi were up next and one of the themes of this evening was commenting on the space.   The Institute Library is this old library, full of many books, which exists because there was a time when the average New Haven citizen wasn't allowed to use the public library.   It's all interesting in and of itself, so if you want to do a deep dive into it or are ever near the library then you should definitely go in and check it out.   Damon even made a comment on how books are good at absorbing sound.

While there is a definitive sound of Damon and Naomi on record, hearing them live just feels like an experience that is even better.   This whole show just had this kind of chill almost trance-like vibe to it though, so playing off of both the other artists and the space may have had something to do with this.  Damon alternated between acoustic and electric guitars while Naomi played an electric guitar and keyboard at different times.  Kath Bloom joined them for one song, to sing and play harmonica, and this was just the type of set that could've closed out any show and sent the audience home happy.

But we weren't done yet because Kath Bloom closed out the show with her particular style of folk music, playing songs on the acoustic guitar, singing and sometimes playing the harmonica as well.   If you don't know Kath Bloom, she has been making music since before I was born (and I'm pretty old) and she is somewhat of a legend in this field.  There isn't much that can be said about her that hasn't already been said, as she really is the voice of a generation and the fact that she is also from Connecticut just made this show feel that much more special.

From a unique set by the Mountain Movers to a Hooray for the Riff Raff cover by Damon and Naomi to the absolute legendary Kath Bloom, this was a fantastic night for music but it also all took place in a library I had never been to before but I certainly hope to return to some day soon.  

Mountain Movers can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Damon and Naomi can be found on the web here :::

Kath Bloom can be found on Bandcamp here :::

The Institute Library can be found on the web here :::


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