As the son of legendary crooners Carly Simon and James Taylor, Ben Taylor could be considered to have the best of both worlds. The young Taylor’s Monday night show at SOhO also happened to be the second to last stop on his tour, but that certainly didn’t stop him from dishing out the goods. With a heavy sense of serenity accompanying each piece he performed, Taylor’s cozy crooning session worked as a perfect late-night lullaby for the packed club.
Opener Katie Herzig, who came equipped with two backup singers and an arsenal of accordion, guitars, violin, and a clarinet, serenaded the space with her delicate combination of instruments and soft vocals. With the pluck of each string, and the breath of each note, Herzig set the cool mood for the remainder of Ben’s show.
Not long after, Taylor stepped onto the stage clad in loose-fitting jeans, a Katie Herzig tee, and bare feet. True to a tranquil storytelling session, the audience sat on the nightclub’s floor, with a smattering of dimmed lights serving as the room’s sole glow. Taylor began his set with a rhythmic poem, reciting his words in a meditative fashion before apologizing to the audience for starting things off on such a serious note. But the solemnity of it all almost instantly disappeared as Taylor kicked into tunes like “Wicked Way” and “Boyfriend” — a song that described Taylor’s initial unrequited love for a girl, then her boyfriend. “A little plot twist for you,” Taylor noted as he finished the line.
Taylor’s ability to put an audience at ease was noticeable throughout Monday night’s show. He took the oft rocking club and turned it into something resembling a coffeehouse open mic night. Meanwhile, songs like “You Must’ve Fallen” were transformed into soothing serenades by way of his acoustic and some subtle drum work. In true storytelling fashion, Taylor accompanied each of his song with the telling of the tale behind it. His ability to genuinely open up with the audience made his already intimate performance so much more personal, and with stories of his famous family dropped, it felt less like watching a show and more like connecting on a personal level. Especially illustrative of this was Taylor’s “Turn on the Lights,” which was written from his unborn nephews’ perspective during the months when the singer was anxiously anticipating his birth.
With a compilation of relaxed acts that clearly complimented each other — not to mention Taylor’s seemingly unending ability to unwind each and every member of his audience—Monday’s show proved to be prime time for down time.