Kennedys Perform A Heartfelt Night

Last night, Edward Rogers delivered a great mix of soulful and upbeat British rock numbers last night at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair.

Kennedys bring out a dancy folk vibe.

Rogers, who lives in New York City but is originally from Birmingham, initially had a slightly nervous stage presence, but each audience member showed their sincere and wholehearted support.

In response to all the support, Rogers quipped, “You guys are really nice. Would you let me move here?”

Yes, we all would, as Montclair is a friendly, community-oriented town! Some running themes of his set last night included loneliness, death and old friendships. He started his set off with songs from his new album, Porcelain, such as the title track and “Fear of the Unknown.”

He also performed some older songs, which he dedicated to some different old friends of his, such as “Link to the Chain” for Ian Hunter, who was the lead singer of British rock group Mott the Hoople. He also dedicated two songs for Kevin Ayers, a British-pop performer who passed away earlier this year.

Also included was a cover of a song by Ray Davies of Kinks fame. Two songs earlier, he assured that “our songs may seem depressing, but we’re fun people, actually.” Rogers and his band mates have proven that very statement through a song about a department store in London called Biba’s, where he gave shout-outs some of his favorite British pop and rock artists, such as David Bowie and Sparks. He referred to them as “The Biba Crowd.”

Before he played the last song of his set, aptly entitled “After the Show,” Rogers humbly and wholeheartedly thanked Outpost volunteer Bill for helping put together these shows and once again thanked the crowd.

Colorful out of focus rock event
© Sakkmesterke | Dreamstime Stock Photos

During the intermission, an attendee named Ryan, who was previously unfamiliar with Rogers’ work, but was nonetheless impressed. “[Rogers] had a lot of soul up there,” he said.

Also, the folks at Montclair Bread, a healthy-alternative bakery located on Walnut Street across from the Red Eye Cafe, were gracious enough to help provide refreshments for everyone.

Husband-and-wife duo Pete and Maura Kennedy were up next. The Kennedys may be from New York, but their music could evoke a life of someone who may have lived in just about every part of the country, complete with their Wild West-esque instrumentation and Maura’s soulful, energetic vocals reminiscent of Roseanne Cash.

Some of the songs the Kennedys performed from their most recent album Closer Than You Know included “Marina Dream,” “I’ll Come Over” and “Happy Again.”

Speaking of dreams, Maura shared an anecdote with the crowd that many of her song ideas are inspired by dreams. One old favorite, entitled “I Found a Road,” she said was inspired by Lesley Gore coming to her in a dream.

The running themes through the Kennedys’ show were friendship and renewal, both of which are appropriate for springtime and their set was all requests. They do showcase energy throughout their songs, but they really gave their all with “Midnight Ghost” and a cover of the traditional song “Matty Groves,” which is actually a few hundred years old.

Iris Dement is next to perform at Outpost in the Burbs, on April 19 at 8 p.m.

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