Storm Large

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Storm Large

Bankhead Theater, Livermore, CA, May 19, 2017

Reviewed by Steve Murray for Cabaret Scenes

Storm Large

Storm Large, like her name suggests, is a larger-than-life character: parts actor, songwriter, author, musician and chanteuse of the finest caliber. Rolling into Livermore’s Bankhead Theater (which she humorously confused for Silicon Valley), Storm treated her fans to a typical show—eclectic song choices delivered in her powerful, clear, vocal style combined with equal amounts bawdy personal anecdotes we Large-heads have come to relish. For the uninitiated, elderly season subscribers and the curious perhaps familiar with her stint in Pink Martini, shock and awe abounded. Large is not for the faint of heart—she’s bold, sassy and fearless, and nothing is off limits, from her breast implants, past drug addiction, or sexual escapades. It’s not intended to shock; instead, her openness is refreshing and illuminating.

Large is a musical chameleon, starting her career in the early San Francisco punk scene, moving on to grunge rock and peppering her sets with soaring ballads and intimate self-penned originals. Her “Call Me Crazy” is a heartfelt statement on her personal turmoil. Several selections are twists on romantic mental states, like her phenomenal arrangement of Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me.” She sucks you into each number with her vulnerability and intense performance art deliveries. Soon to honor Liza Minnelli, Large sang Kander and Ebb’s emotionally raw “Maybe This Time” heard in the film version (and some revivals) of Cabaret, a show she’s quite familiar with having starred as Sally Bowles in 2007.

She had a hit with her original paean to her vagina with “8 Miles Wide,” a comic sing-along and fan fave. Two set highlights were her touching original “Angels in Gas Stations,” written for the woman who provided a safe haven for the abandoned teen, and “Inside Outside,” a raw and devastating comment on wanting to die from heartbreak. These songs perfectly showcase Large’s immense talent: keen sensitivity, emotional rawness, stunning vocals, and riveting stage presence.

Storm Large is a true force of nature and, by leaps and bounds, one of the finest voices performing these days (Maria and Lady G watch out). She packs a lot of talent in her 6-foot frame and, if she comes to your town, run to see her. In “Inside Outside,” she deferentially sings, “I’m not a shining star.” She may not act like one or accept that status, but the evidence suggests she is.

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.