Ray LaMontagne is undoubtedly a talented songwriter. But as a main festival act, he just doesn’t work.
More suited for a smaller venue such as the House of Blues — or maybe smaller — LaMontagne’s folksy, earthy tunes range from soulful to clever as his songs are miniature stories. But they can also be downright depressing.
Playing on the Boardwalk stage Friday, LaMontagne and his rootsy, sometimes Southern-sounding band was certainly not the energetic jolt a crowd partying all day in the hot sun needed.
With a raspy, high voice LaMontagne weaved his musical prose, delivering them solidly but never totally enthralling the 10,000 or so people standing in the hot sun watching him.
He made his fans happy by playing a mix of songs from his four full-length albums, including last year’s “God Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise.” And a cover of The Byrds’ “Blue Canadian Rockies” was definitely appreciated.
LaMontagne had some nice moments — especially when the steel guitar was the focus. But there were too many slow moments — like “New York City’s Killing Me” — and not enough memorable ones to stand out among an impressive Friday lineup.