Chris Riffle took to the stage at Rockwood Music Hall on Saturday June 6th. Riding the waves of his recently released “Out of Town”, Chris has recently been nominated “Artist of the Month” by The Deli NYC. The performance was charged and engaging; every head was glued to the stage as Chris and company seduced the room.
Rockwood is split up into 3 stages. Chris Riffle played at the 3rd, located on Orchard Street. The atmosphere was intimate: a darkened room, a grand piano sitting on a gently lit bandstand, and 3 well-versed musicians serenading their listeners. Chris, located centrally, played a classical guitar that he strummed with his fingers. His voice resounded with a clarity that few performers are able to capture live - sensitive yet bold, affectionate yet determined, it was impossible not to be taken in by his poised and alluring presence.
Accompanying him were 2 seasoned musicians. To the left was an electric guitarist, his chordal voicings and lead lines flowed effortlessly out of the instrument, as though the guitar itself had something to express. Every chord change was attended to and for much of the set he masterfully played a slide – bringing us all into a state of deep country rest.
The bassist was on-point and exacting. His bass lines were inseparable from Chris’s finely woven songs. Moreover, he played a fretless bass, giving the band’s bend a warm and intoxicating flow.
The lyrics shone through in every piece. In mid-set he intoned, “Oh if I could hold on to the air, like a branch inside the night”. Later he continued on “I wanna lose myself, or at least forget to steer”, a line that resounds with all of our busy lives here in New York.
The performance as a whole had elements of Keane and Coldplay, channeling elements of soft rock, though retaining an originality strictly its own. In the fourth number I was reminded of “Spies” by Cold Play, with echoed reverby guitars, dripping over the listener like wine before breaking off into heavenly arpeggios. The blend of the trio was seamless and impressive.
The final song was the title track “Out of Town”. It was a fitting closer for a languorous and beautiful performance. The crowd applauded warmly as couples edged ever closer together. Surely, Chris Riffle’s album has a lot for the listener to take in, absorb and feel comforted by.
Be sure to check out Chris Riffle’s website for upcoming shows, radio performances and more at chrisriffle.com.