Storm Large

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Storm Large

Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, June 9, 2018

Reviewed by Steve Murray for Cabaret Scenes 

Storm Large
Photo: Laura Domela

It seems with every gig, whether it be in intimate cabaret rooms or large symphony halls, Storm Large gets more and more popular, and with good cause. She is bold, sassy, brutally honest, sensual, and funny, in addition to possessing a remarkably powerful voice and strong songwriting skills.

It may take you a few numbers to acclimate to Large’s energetic, in-your-face delivery, but I guarantee you’ll be sold.

On her third of three sold-out performances at Feinstein’s, Storm and her band, Le Bonheur, swept through a set of re-imagined covers, original material, and re-interpreted Great American Songbook classics.

Large plans on reviving her cabaret show Crazy Enough for its 10th anniversary next year and opened with “Call Me Crazy,” which recognizes the difficulties of growing up with a mother with psychological issues. From that same show and her 2009 CD she performed “Halogen,” another of her authentic, deeply personal originals. She flips from this punk/acoustic folk blend to a moody, haunting cover of Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin’s “Long Black Veil,” a hit for Johnny Cash. Large and Le Bonheur—James Beaton (keys), Scott Weddle (guitars), Greg Eklund (drums), Matt Brown (bass)—offer up a searing cover of punk band Bad Brains “Sacred Love” from her recent 2014 CD Le Bonheur.

Storm has a penchant for choosing a classic song, kicking its tires, taking it for a ride, and seeing what it’ll deliver.

Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right with Me” is re-invigorated and given a revved-up beat. “Angels in Gas Stations” (Large /James Beaton) is a set highlight: a heartbreaking reminiscence of the grieving over a mother figure in Storm’s past. Jacques Brel’s ultimate classic torch song, “Ne me quitte pas” and its English counterpart, “If You Go Away” (Rod McKuen) gets Large’s emotive, wailing passion. A tribute to Prince on “Nothing Compares to You” allows her to show off her range and power. Similarly, she involves the audience in a rousing cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” set encore.


By set’s end, we and Storm are spent; it was a thrilling ride that should be experienced by all lovers of strong, powerful female stylists. Storm crosses genres as quickly as she comically crosses boundaries, all combining for a great night of musical theater performance.

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.