Langhorne Slim and the Law kicked off the tour in support of their new record, The Spirit Moves, (Dualtone Records), at Mr. Smalls Theater in Millvale on September 10. The Bucks County, PA, native and his four-piece band comanded the stage from minute one. Not knowing all of Langhorne's material, I expected an intimate set of sedated, pop-tinged Americana. Instead, Langhorne treated the crowd to a raucous night of thumping soul dusted folk-rock. The atmosphere took on the air of a romping party, rather than the coffee shop sit-around acoustic acts can often slog through.
While the up-tempo cuts from The Spirit Moves, and 2012's The Way We Move stirred the age-diverse crowd into a hooting, whistling frenzy, Langhore's solo acoustic pieces served as the set's emotional backbone. He introduced "Song for Sid" with a touching - if long-winded - story about how much his grandfather, Sid, still means to him years after his death. That intimacy stretched to the stand-out solo cut "Changes" from The Spirit Moves.
Langhorne clearly loves every second he spends on stage. From singing "Happy Birthday" to a fan, to dedicating a song to a couple about to get married, Slim engaged the crowd in any, and every way he could, culminating in his jumping from the stage to the floor as fans quickly surrounded him. The Law were tight behind Slim all night, and as his sound further develops towards a Memphis, rather than Nashville, sound, I hope he fills the stage with a horn section sooner than later. Langhorne Slim and the Law delivered everything a hardcore or casual fan could hope for on Thursday, and I look forward to his Pittsburgh return. Until then, I'll have The Spirit Moves firmly planted in my listening rotation.