High on Florida Heat: John Moreland Live Review | The Social Orlando | September 2, 2016

by • September 4, 2016

John Moreland is your favorite songwriter’s favorite songwriter. His finger picking style lends a richness to acoustic guitar. His voice travels from a place deep down and instantly demands listen. His command of the language is worthy of symphonic reverence. The Social is sparsely populated with a decidedly more mature crowd on a Friday night. But we are basking in the intimacy of what is almost a living room show with arguably the best songwriter in America.

If we don’t bleed, it don’t feel like a song.”

Moreland is playing a new tune, not one we have spent years digesting and dissecting. Something hitting our synapses for the first time. Lyrical dopamine for the virgin user.

Processing John Moreland’s music in real time is like racing Usain Bolt on your bicycle. In theory, the odds should be in your favor, but then Moreland sings something like “There ain’t no glory in regret.” Your awareness skips a beat before coming to the realization you are intensely outclassed. He will smoke you even if you have a head start.

In the aftermath of each utterance, you start to process the preceding lines but Moreland is already pulling well ahead of you. “If we don’t bleed, it don’t feel like a song.”

“I still use your old alarm clock/Every morning I get further off course/And I don’t hear you speaking in the noises of this house/Airplanes flying over shaking all my secrets out,” Moreland moans on “Cherokee,” a tune that begins with the lines “I guess I’ve got a taste for poison/I’ve given up on ever being well.” A well-oiled bro directly in front of Moreland scream-slurs every heartbreaking, brilliant lyric back in the performer’s face. The only blight on this evening is not enough to overpower the genuinely painful grace rattling from Moreland’s way-down to our senses.

“I’d take a diamond from the sky and I’d put it in your ring,” Moreland promises on another beautiful, loving ode. That is how the moment feels. Like something divine took a diamond from the sky and placed it on stage at The Social.

John Moreland Live Review 2016 by Jason Earle.

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