R Stevie Moore doesn’t care if you buy his albums or see him play live. After all, he’s been left to his own devices for well over thirty-five years and that the indie underground and the audience at Brooklyn’s 285 Kent, May 19th chose to embrace him probably comes as no surprise to the underground pioneer. Back in the early ‘70s, his lifelong dream to record as a one-man band resulted in lo-fi’s first legendary artifact, Phonography , which has since inspired a host of current artists, including his biggest fan and collaborator, Ariel Pink (QRO live review).
R. Stevie left Nashville before to tour with his acoustic guitar, but this was the first opportunity to catch him with his "cock rock band", Tropical Ooze. The recently assembled Brooklyn group has multiple backup vocals, keyboards, and three guitarists, including Aaron Roche who recently put out a seven inch of his collaboration with Moore and Shahzad Ismaily on the La Station Radar label.
R. Stevie has got to have an impressive amount of stamina to play night after night, miles from home on this tour, which is just a warm up for heading overseas with Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Playing his black and white bass, he’s ringleader of the ragtag band, running through a set of classic material like his newly penned track with Pink, "Dutch Me", and the shut-in anthem "I Like to Stay Home", where the legend, with rubber-bands in his beard and hospital scrubs, bellows "I got enough to do – right here!"
Taking a break is part of the set. Pausing for an intermission, R. Stevie asked for questions from the audience and fired back with low rumbling non-sequiturs about what he had for breakfast or just words that were fun to say together, over and over… "Netanyahu dot com".
Their set ended with "The Garbage State" building into a long jam, teased out by R. Stevie into a massive psychedelic state of layered solo’s and screeching space synths. R. Stevie stood stoically, feet planted apart, nodding his head, in flip sunglasses with a "VS" neon truckers hat, holding his cover of The Wire (QRO live review) in front of the mic because after all it’s still nice to be recognized however long overdue. The truth is he cares a lot… enough to leave his house and come all the way out to Brooklyn for a bunch of unworthy ruffians in a paint-splattered warehouse.