Lowell, Massachusetts-based singer/songwriter Frank Morey has performed in the smoky confines of Frederick's Music Lounge more than a few times, earning enough of a fanbase to merit two-night weekend engagements of late. To some regulars and staffers, Morey's an underground deity, evoking the best moments of Leadbelly and Tom Waits in one rumpled, gravel-voiced package. He and his combo (drummer Scott Pittman and standup bassist Joe Faria) certainly look the part. Morey's got the beat-up felt hat and grandpa shirt; his slouch and world-weary stage banter are textbook. A cynic might assume that a certain calculated edge is blended into Morey's neo-hobo-chic. But we could all use a little less cynicism in this world.
In town for a special Monday-night gig -- yes, it's at Fred's, where Mr. Friction's back at the rail after a stint in the hospital -- Morey won't be here purely in support of his 2002 CD Cold in Hand. Instead, he'll be accompanying black-and-white films. Just a couple of weeks removed from the Alloy Orchestra's appearance for the Webster University Film Series, Morey and company will improvise along to a host of silent-movie shorts, which will appear on the quirky club's three scattered monitors. "Monday Night Movies" is always a treat at Frederick's (especially when manager/film guru Paul Stark is also improvising with, for instance, a what-the-hell dose of Police Story or Pee-wee's Playhouse), but this week's conceit offers intriguing on-the-spot possibilities. At the very least, the ladies still get a chance to worship at the Altar of Frank.