“I’m kind of sober so anything goes tonight.” Owen, the solo project of Mike Kinsella, definitely made for an entertaining set at the Bowery Ballroom on Friday night. Opening for Laura Stevenson on the last stop of her tour which also doubled as her record release show for her third album Wheel, Owen kept things cathartic with his story telling lyricism while simultaneously campy with his deadpan sense of humor.
Alone on stage with just his acoustic guitar and an open guitar case off to the side, Mike Kinsella transported us back to a time when stories of generations past were told by grandparents sitting in a rocking chair beneath the summer sun. That’s what his music does. It takes you away into the lives of his songs and enamors you with their thoughts and worries, problems and solutions, almost taking them on yourself.
For every serious moment Owen depicts with his raw rock sound, there lies an unprecedented laughable moment that makes the audience wonder if that really just happened—and it did. Moments when Owen would stop mid-song, only to begin a completely different song eventually became natural to the audience. After a few quizzical looks when Owen would mess up lyrics, almost purposefully, the crowd members turned their attention back to the soulful crooner onstage.
Watching Mike Kinsella perform is a therapeutic experience for both himself and the crowd. He’s able to discuss things he’s never talked about with anyone before, like ER and how he liked the show but he’s not “gonna watch it again” despite it’s pioneering “cool hairstyles.” Even stopping abruptly during a new song, announcing that he now knew what he was doing with that song which elicited applause from the concert-goers. Owen was a release for the crowd, he created not only beautiful guitar melodies but also an air of weightlessness throughout the entire venue that seemed to make everything else in the world, except for the stage in front, insignificant.
And read our concert review over at CMJ: http://cmj.com/live/laura-stevenson-owen-field-mouse-bowery-ballroom-may-24-2013/