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Storm Large

| June 6, 2015

Storm Large

Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, May 28, 2015

Reviewed by Steve Murray for Cabaret Scenes

Storm-Large-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Her name says it all. With the ability to start quiet and soft, and then whip a tune into a frenzy of controlled power, there’s nothing diminutive or demure about Storm Large. Funny, smart, irreverent and brutally honest, this first of three-sold out shows revolved around the crazy multi aspects of love. Her haunting original, “A Woman’s Heart” (with James Beaton) is a sophisticated ballad concerning the complexity of emotions from devotion to icy frigidity. Her visceral take on Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” reveals the creepiness of his lyrics and is the most original cover of this classic you may ever hear. Next up was a stunning version of “If You Go Away,” closely associated with the late, great Dusty Springfield. This adaptation of Jacques Brel’s “Ne me quitte pas,” with lyrics by Rod McKuen, is both sad and hopeful and is followed by the original French masterpiece. Like Springfield, Large’s voice is clear, expressive and full of any emotion she wishes to impart. She channels each song as if it were not only written for her, but about her. And you believe her wholly.

“Long Black Veil,” a country ballad by Marijohn Wilkin and Danny Dill, is a dark dirge of mournful regret. James Shelton’s “Lilac Wine” is a heartache song soothed by intoxication. Large picks up the pace with a jaunty, almost rockabilly cover of another Porter love song, “It’s All Right with Me,” and a comically S&M interpretation of the cloying treacle that is “Hopelessly Devoted to You” from Grease. My favorite of the night, “Angels in Gas Stations,” is her tender homage to her “chosen” mother, Anne. In it she entreats, “Be still my beating heart and take me home/I will sleep on your shoulder while you drive.” Angels are everywhere, even in gas stations. Storm has a spiritual essence and love, in all its incarnations, is its highest aspiration.

Parts rocker, chanteuse, musician and songwriter, Storm Large is truly a force of nature, simultaneously intense, hilarious and vulnerable. Backed solidly by her band Le Bonheur (Scott Weddle, guitars; James Beaton, piano; Greg Ecklund, drums; Matt Brown, bass), Large is a bigger-than-life hit of fresh air on the performance art scene.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Regional, San Francisco, San Francisco Cabaret Reviews

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