Dennis Lloyd and Morgan Saint’s Quasi Battle of the Bands at Amsterdam Hall

Dennis Lloyd at Amsterdam Hall

I originally signed up to cover Dennis Lloyd to see how his laid back, laissez-faire style transferred into a live setting. I expected that, upon leaving the show, my highlight would have been the satisfaction of that curiosity, for better or for worse. But it wasn’t. Instead, it was, unequivocally, the opener Morgan Saint.

Morgan Saint at Amsterdam Hall
Photo by Benjamin Allen

Morgan Saint is a 24-year-old vocalist out of New York City who crisscrossed the stage in much the same way a tiger paces in its enclosure, planning its attack. While the planning is as far as the tiger ever goes, Morgan Saint lurches and pounces at lyrics, at ideas, and sometimes even at the audience.

Dennis Lloyd at Amsterdam Hall
Photo by Benjamin Allen

I know you’re going to make the obvious logical leap here, “Of course you’d make a comparison to a certain iconic artist, Ben, they’ve both got shaved heads.” That would mean she has TWO things in common with Sinead O’Connor, smartypants. In the portions of songs where Morgan croons, singing from a more relaxed place, the timbre of her voice is almost an exact duplicate of Sinead in that same mode.

But when she belts it out, which she does frequently, her voice is a different beast entirely. She has a lot of raw power and you can hear, in points, that she’s still learning how to use it. I feel like I can say that she’s on her way up. Way, way up.

It’s interesting, both artists who performed tonight are in similar places with their work; each finding their voice and crafting their sound as they go. What initially attracted me to Dennis Lloyd was a musical swagger I’d found most recently in Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker). A soulful voice, a little bit of attitude, just jamming about relationships. He has a few decent tracks and it’s interesting to follow him as he figures out his place in music. But I can’t help but feel he’s occupying a very busy place in terms of genre.

Dennis Lloyd at Amsterdam Hall
Photo by Benjamin Allen

Then again, the show did sell out. While it wasn’t one of the area’s largest venues, it seems as though Minnesotans are slow to warm up to things until they’ve been inundated with them via radio.

Morgan Saint occupies a similarly crowded space in music, though I feel there’s a little more hope in her future. She seems to have a defined direction.

Photo by Benjamin Allen

I hope I’m wrong about Dennis Lloyd and right about Morgan Saint, that at some point in the future I come back to this and wonder what the hell I smoked before I wrote this review. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Written by Benjamin Allen

In my photography, I try to tell the story of the relationship of people that create music and those that experience it through pictures. I’m drawn to rainbows like a moth to a big, beautiful flame.

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