Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, June 9, 2018
It seems with every gig, whether it be intimate cabaret rooms or large symphony halls, Storm Large gets more and more popular, and with good cause. Storm is bold, sassy, brutally honest, sensual and funny, in addition to her 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 on 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”, a tune recognizing thee difficulties of growing up with a mother with psychological issues. From that same show and 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 and 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 tune, kicking the tires, taking it for a ride and seeing what it’ll deliver. Cole Porter’s “Its Alright”, 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 Large 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 sets end, the audience and Storm are spent – 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 theatre performance.