Michael Kiwanuka @ Webster Hall, September 18th
Words: David Schultz
Only 24 years old, Michael Kiwanuka deftly hides his youth behind a scraggly beard and a penchant for resurrecting the soul stylings of a prior generation. On Home Again, Kiwanuka’s fantastic debut album, he channels Sam Cooke through the prism of Sly & The Family Stone at their most blissed out. The album’s lush arrangements conjure up an era of urban unrest fueled by the summer heat but quelled by the need to find a sense of inner peace.
[All Photos by Jeremy Gordon]
At Webster Hall, Kiwanuka did not attempt to present his album in all its ornate glory. Rather, on acoustic guitar, he led a relatively sparse band through the rolls of Home Again and I’m Getting Ready and a spacey run through Jimi Hendrix’ May This Be Love. Kiwanuka and his band often let the music take over, allowing songs like Tell Me A Tale to follow their own path. In a little over an hour, Kiwanuka not only showed extraordinary promise, he offered a glimpse at what might have happened had Jimmy Cliff or Toots Hibbert opted against reggae superstardom for a life of Van Morrison-style jazz and soul.
Here’s a full set of photos from Michael Kiwanuka at Webster Hall…