Tim Hockenberry: Feinstein’s at the Nikko

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Tim Hockenberry

Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, October 26, 2014

Reviewed by Steve Murray for Cabaret Scenes

Tim-Hockenberry-Feinsteins-at-the-Nikko-Cabaret-Scenes-Magzine_212Who else but Tim Hockenberry, the Bay Area’s greatest male troubadour, could wring the wistful longing out of “Rainbow Connection,” Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher’s theme from The Muppet Movie. Hockenberry adds his gut-wrenching vocals to the Oscar-nominated theme, and elevates it to a whole new dimension, as he does with most of the songs he covers.
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Taking modern alternative hits like Coldplay’s piano ballad “The Scientist” (Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, Chris Martin) and The Cure’s lovely “Just Like Heaven,” Hockenberry and guitarist extraordinaire Gawain Matthews extract the emotion from the melodies and lyrics, creating moody atmospheres that treat the mind and heart.

Our troubadour sings mostly about love—the sweet and the not so sweet.
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His originals “I Put My Faith in You” and “Ease Your Pain” have tender edges that are enhanced by his gravel-throated deliveries. He challenges with his voice to listen to each lyric, re-imagining classics like John Lennon’s “Girl’’ and “Jersey Girl” by Tom Waits, a singer with whom he’s been compared. There are few male vocalists who can match Hockenberry’s power, intensity and intelligent musical choices.

Steve Murray

Always interested in the arts, Steve was encouraged to begin producing and, in 1998, staged four, one-man vehicles starring San Francisco's most gifted performers. In 1999, he began the Viva Variety series, a live stage show with a threefold mission to highlight, support, and encourage gay and gay-friendly art in all the performance forms, to entertain and document the shows, and to contribute to the community by donating proceeds to local non-profits. The shows utilized the old variety show style popularized by his childhood idol Ed Sullivan. He’s produced over 150 successful shows, including parodies of Bette Davis’s gothic melodramedy Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and Joan Crawford’s very awful Trog. He joined Cabaret Scenes 2007 and enjoys the writing and relationships he’s built with very talented performers.