Reeve Carney at Molly Malone's - photo by Siri Svay

Reeve Carney at Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles, CA

Hot off the heels of performing as Riff Raff for the Rocky Horror Picture Show, actor, singer and songwriter Reeve Carney has embarked on a tour in support of his latest album release, Youth Is Wasted. The first stop was a last minute addition of Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles, CA—a special venue for Reeve as he used to perform there every Monday for two years with his brother and sister for their namesake band Carney. The night's setlist consisted of selections from Youth Is Wasted as well as older Carney tunes like "Whatever Lola Wants" and a snippet cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody," which should have been performed in its full glory.

The best way to describe Reeve Carney is the musical version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—two different personalities presented on stage. When he spoke to the audience (Dr. Jekyll), breaking that barrier between performer and audience, sharing his personal stories and inspirations behind each song, he was warm and personable with an infectious smile. But when he’s performing (Mr. Hyde)…he turned into a mad, musical genius. Though he made a habit of contorting his face—eyes rolling in the back of his head, head bobbing with a tick—he effortlessly put on an entertaining performance. All eyes were on him as he belted every note perfectly and constantly moved and grooved for his entire two-hour set.

Overall, the songs on Youth Is Wasted exude mature, refined themes pondering about life, love and the world. The album is thoughtful, enveloped in extended metaphors that convey each song’s message nicely (see “Checkmate,” “Geronimo,” “Intention” and “Up Above the Weather”). For the most part, Reeve Carney performed solo, and in all honesty, he could probably pull off writing and producing a one-man show, starring himself, of course. His songs not only possess great and relatable themes but they also have a theatrical, musical quality to them as well. Youth Is Wasted has its rollercoaster of emotions—the highs with energetic tunes and the lows with somber ones.

From the get-go, Reeve explained to the audience that in honor of his album release party, he wanted to make the night special for the audience, a treat of sorts for celebrating with him. He definitely kept this promise. The most impressive feat of the night was the amount of improv incorporated into the set. Whether it was piano, guitar or vocals, Reeve flaunted his amazing musical genius skills of creating melodies on the fly. In addition, he invited siblings (Paris and Zane) and childhood friend pianist Charles Jones on stage for several songs and even had a brotherly guitar battle/jam with Zane. Needless to say it was amazing to bask in those moments—that sometimes lasted for 20 minutes—when musicianship and artistry collided in passion.

Seldom has anyone displayed such savvy expertise in music like Reeve did. With all the credibility of music school knowledge, passion flowing from his fingertips and paying his dues as a fledgling artist back in the day, Reeve Carney truly is a musician’s musician and a necessary talent to see.

Text and photos by Siri Svay

*Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.