Simply great: Keb’ Mo’ at Cargo

Keb MoKeb’ Mo’ and his talented band made Cargo feel like a living room.

“I am shocked and amazed every time anybody shows up,” he said early in the July 17 performance in Reno’s Whitney Peak Hotel. Sharply dressed in a suit and a fedora, Keb’ Mo displayed humility that added to a tasteful and thoroughly satisfying 2 hour and 20 minute set before more than 400.

Keb’ Mo,’ the stage name for Kevin Moore, has often been aptly described as a Delta bluesman who has brought the music to modern times. And while he used six guitars and keyboardist Michael B. Hicks once used a heat-controlled Theremin, the performance was stripped down and devoid of histrionics. It was simply a great show.

When he introduced “Rainmaker,” the title-song on his 1980 debut album, Keb’ Mo’ lamented it was never a hit. “I’m going to keep playing that sucker until one day, somehow …”

But he has plenty of hit songs and a huge library from which to choose. He played “Somebody Hurt You,” “The Worst Is Yet To Come” and “The Old Me Better” from his latest album, the Grammy nominated “BluesAmericana.”

At 63, Keb’ Mo’ is as established as any contemporary blues-based artist, and when he makes a record it usually gets a Grammy nomination. He’s won three. He played 23 songs, including four in the encore set.

The show opened with jazzy versions of “Rita” and “Government Cheese” before segueing into the blues. The energy built throughout the night, fueled by musicianship, Cargo’s superb sound and smiles that filled the year-old venue.

Bass player Stan Sergeant led a funked up verson of “Gimme What You Got,” and briefly took the lead vocals to skat some rhymes. Casey Wasner played drums. Each band member took turns singing during the close of the opening set on “The Door,” the 2000 song that is arguably Keb’ Mo’s best known hit. Hicks, clearly a star in his own right, displayed a versatile singing voice. The evening ended with a duet with Keb’ Mo’ and Hicks on piano on the song “City.”

A Los Angeles native, who said he explored Memphis, Mercury and Mars as a city boy looking for a home, made everyone in attendance feel at home.

  • Keb’ Mo’
    July 17, 2015 at Cargo @ Whitney Peak
    1 – “Soon as I Get Paid”
    2 – “Let Your Light Shine”
    3 – “Government Cheese”
    4 – “Rita”
    5 – “Come On Back”
    6 – “Ready for Blues Tonight”
    7 – “Somebody Hurt You” !
    8 – “Rainmaker”
    9 – “Life is Beautiful”
    10 – “I See Love” (Mike and Molly)
    11 – “Angelina”
    12 — “More Than One Way Home”
    13 “Love in Vain”
    14 – “The Worst is Yet to Come”
    15 – “Shave Yo’ Legs”
    16 – “Gimme What You Got”
    17 – “Perpetual Blues Machine”
    18 – “Soon As I Get Paid”
    19 – “The Door”
    ENCORE
    20 – “The Old Me Better”
    21 – “She Just Wants to Dance”
    22 – “Better Man”
    23 – “City”
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About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

One comment

  1. Wow! Thank you so much for your kind words and thorough as well as thoughtful review. We had a good time! Dig the pics! Can you put me in touch with the photographer? I’d like to request permission to post these pics via social media. Thanks!!!

    Michael B. Hicks

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