Morris Minor

The Mermaid Lounge

July 29, 2004

Greg Nobles pulled it off. He wailed away on a solo in the middle of a soft, sad song. A testosterone-driven guitar rant can sound pretty silly in the middle of a sensitive, plaintive number, but Nobles made the song beautiful with his electric guitar’s melancholic tone.

Mobile, AL, rock band Morris Minor kept a distressing mood their whole set Thursday night at The Mermaid Lounge. Nobles was joined by bassist/pianist Adam Taylor and drummer Clarke Marty, who sat in. Since their normal drummer wasn’t available to play their more upbeat material, Nobles focused on the more heartbreaking songs in his repertoire. Most of the night only Nobles and Taylor shared the stage.

I was very impressed by Morris Minor. Only about seven people occupied the room when they played. This lack of bodies normally hints at disaster, but last night it hinted at an unknown treasure. Nobles was a great singer/songwriter with a sound reminiscent of the past—Lou Reed—and the future—Smog. His lovelorn tales had heart-striking melodies. Along with poignant melodies, Nobles knew the importance of rocking out a little. He kept things interesting in his sad-song world by throwing a curveball or two. He used the small size of the room to his advantage. Instead of screaming into the microphone, Nobles leaned back when he yelled, which made his noise rawer and more emotionally urgent. Taylor wasn’t meant to equal Nobles’ musicianship. Nobles was the obvious main man, but Taylor colored the songs well with minor piano chords.

The only problem I had was that Nobles whined at times. No biggie. Morris Minor have national potential. Too bad Jason Hatfield, the headliner, dropped out of the tour. Maybe Morris Minor will be headlining next time around.

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