Jerry Phelps, Elliot Roth, Karen Thompson: No Evil 2.0: A Resistance Cabaret

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Jerry Phelps, Elliot Roth, and Karen Thompson

No Evil 2.0: A Resistance Cabaret

The Duplex, NYC, May 11, 2018

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Karen Thompson, Jerry Phelps, Elliot Roth

Emotions ran high for the trio of Jerry Phelps, Elliot Roth, and Karen Thompson and especially for Phelps who, at least during the first song (Dolores O’Riordan’s “Zombie”), looked as if he’d bite the head off a dove if it meant Trump would no longer be president. The trio relied on the music to do the speaking for them, along with a handful of clips reciting many of the sentiments that circled around Trump’s ascendancy to presidency. The point in the end? Don’t let the country slip further toward the selfish hate-mongers. Phelps summed their show up best in a repeating interlude, “Don’t you know we are talking about a revolution/it sounds like a whisper.”

Thompson took solo lead for my favorite songs in the form of a decent rendition of Laura Nyro’s “Poverty Train” and an even better executed mash-up of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” and Gwen Stefani/ Tom Dumont’s ““Just a Girl.” Utilizing the theme from the line, “pour myself a cup of ambition,” in the mash-up, Thompson brought out her full voice and beseeched the crowd to not let the 9 to 5 take them down.

Phelps showcased the most visceral feeling in the show, often curling his face into impassioned displays of inner angst.
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From the moment early in the show when he stole the limelight during “Sympathy for the Devil” (Keith Richards/Mick Jagger), his voice grew ever deeper and more robust with each song. His intensity was only matched by Elliot Roth’s strong piano solos, who also provided accompanying vocals; he chose the Bob Dylan song, “The Times They Are A-Changin’” for his own solo lead. At first he stood in front of the band of Brian Fisher (drums), Jeff Jeudy (guitar), and Amanda Ruzza (bass), but then he took another seat behind the piano to  throw his fingers into a flurry as furious as Phelps’.

The times are certainly changing. Hopefully for the better. The most powerful message to me lay beneath the surface in the shape of the simple idea that music remains a powerful tool to reconcile and deliver ideas.
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No Evil 3.0? I think it’ll be interesting what this trio thinks up next.

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see