Justin Moody, Corey R-J, A Cloud for Climbing, and Old Hours - Axiom - 3/22/14
Justin Moody, Corey R-J, A Cloud For Climbing, & Old Hours
Peoria is not the first suburb that comes to mind when Phoenicians think live music -- hell, it's not even likely to be the fourth or fifth suburb for that matter. However, nestled behind a string of fluorescent-lit dealerships just off of Bell Road and the 101 hides Axiom, a less-than-likely venue that played host last night to Valley folk darlings Justin Moody and Old Hours, electronic solo act A Cloud For Climbing and Massachusetts' Corey R-J.
While the lineup felt thematic in terms of genre, it ended up being an eclectic mix whose small attendance was more a reflection of the locale than the talent.
Singer-songwriter Justin Moody translates the same unpolished heartache from his past work into his live show, losing none of his messages in the process. Switching between his chromed resonator and a vintage Epiphone acoustic, he benefited from some of the best sound of the evening with just a miked guitar and a vocal mic laden with reverb.
Moody plays the latest songs from his upcoming record with a refined sense of emotion, sometimes affected by his own work yet rarely making eye contact with the crowd. It's like watching him try out the songs in his bedroom for the first time -- well-rehearsed and raw, yelping it out when the lyrics get tough. A strong signifier of the night to come, Moody's approach was darker at times but set the mood for the stories to be told.
Boston made its way to Arizona in the form of Corey Ross-Jenkinson, a singer-songwriter from the Bay State who shortens his last name to "R-J" for the stage, with compatriot Kara Lia on backing him up on keys. Ross-Jenkinson leans on the technical side of the singer-songwriter aesthetic, looping and sampling his own percussive playing on the fly.
There's strong songwriting here, especially on a song like "Constant Motion," launching into a slick halftime shift halfway through as he tosses clean fretwork over top of it. A defined mix is a must for all the writing components at play here though, and Axiom was lacking: Lia's vocals got lost in the punchy midrange of Ross-Jenkinson's playing, her keys picking up too much low-end, all unfortunately leading to a muddled mess at times.