Live Review: Mal Blum, Philadelphia, July 21, 2019

To mark the release of Pity Boy at PhilaMOCA, Mal Blum performed most of the songs from the album under Casper The Friendly Ghost’s watchful eye—and they sounded terrific: honest, emotional and energetic.

Blum writes with road-honed songcraft and candor informed by their nonbinary/trans perspective and efforts to navigate relationships when you don’t have all the tools or the guides you need—when you don’t have an inventory to know what you’re missing. Like the best art, it feels most universal in its specificity.

Highlights: “I Don’t Want To,” “Not My Job” and “Things Still Left To Say” from Pity Boy, plus old crowd pleaser “New Year’s Eve,” which drew the show to a prompt close at 10:30.

With a shared guitarist in Audrey Zee Whitesides, Lucky Cat made a positively simpatico opener. “Other Oceans” stood out, but the band’s whole short set sounded great, even though the bassist called out sick.

In the middle slot, Curtis Cooper had flashes of grungy, Nirvana-inspired bliss amid the primal Primus low end the band favored.

—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich

Curtis Cooper
Lucky Cat