Tor Miller @ Cafe 939

I had decided to go to Tor Miller because his music and a small venue sounded like a good place to spend a Thursday evening. Miller had just released an EP titled American English, which subsequently led him on tour.

After waiting for doors to open 40 minutes after they were supposed to, the short line waiting to get into the Red Room at Cafe 939 quickly filled up with fans attempting to get as close to the stage as possible. I settled for an okay spot off to the side, mostly because I did not want to fight for a better view against the competitive-looking girls holding their spots inches from the grand piano that Tor Miller would soon play.

The opener, Sean Miller who is also the lead guitarist in Tor’s band, played a short set.  He was talented, funny, and extremely casual with the crowd.  He closed his opening set with a one of his original songs, but with the audience snapping and clapping the beats in substitution of any instruments or tracks, which was a unique experience and left the crowd intrigued.

Tor Miller came on soon after.  He opened with “All Fall Down” and then “Midnight,” both of which are off his new EP. The songs sounded good, but nothing that got the crowd dancing or moving. Tor talked about his memories growing up in New York City and traveling with friends. He continued on with his set alternating between songs from his new EP and his 2015 EP.

Honestly, none of the songs blew me away. I began regretting my choice of standing close to the stage and wish I had opted for one of the couches in the back.  I could not tell if the fans were really enjoying the show, or just convincing their snapchats that they were having a good time. I overheard conversations of friends making plans after the show during his most popular song, “Carter and Cash.” When Tor ended his set with “Hold the Phone,” an emotional song that was the turning point in his career, people were checking their phones and nodding that the show was over at a reasonable hour.

Tor Miller is definitely a talented musician, but the clichés of New York City streets and wanderlust that filled the show were not as inspiring to the crowd as they were meant to be. If you wanted to see Tor Miller live, go for it, but I recommend to take a seat in the back and just listen instead of trying to force yourself to get into the hype of the show.

-Shannon O.

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