Storm Large sparkles at BB's

Storm Large

By Katie McGrath

When I first heard about Storm Large in connection with the new season of Jim Dolan’s Gaslight Cabaret Festival, I thought, man, that would be a great  name for a star athlete, someone showing off a lot of muscle and power. Turns out I wasn’t far off base, even though Storm Large’s milieu is the musical stage and not a football stadium, tennis court or ski slope.

Thanks to my lousy appointment calendar management and a car challenge I went to the wrong place and the wrong time, ending up at BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soup midway through Large’s show on Saturday night.  The loss was all mine. The packed house was wrapped around her finger, church-quiet when they weren’t laughing at her very unchurchy humor. Lucky for me, she and her band stayed at it easily twice as long as the standard cabaret show.

When she appeared in St. Louis this past spring, my colleague, Chuck Lavazzi,described her as slinky, hypnotic and compelling. And how. She exudes a breathtaking, force-of-nature brand of sexuality that might be overwhelming if it weren’t lightened by her self-deprecating humor and hilarious observations about such diverse topics as Texans, trains and gooey butter cake.

Highlights from her set included a surprisingly soulful arrangement of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me” (I know, I know, but it was gorgeous), an impromptu, a cappella version of the classic “500 Miles” while she awaited the passing of the aforementioned train on the nearby tracks, and most captivating of all, her original songs, particularly “Angels in Gas Stations,” and a crowd favorite, “Eight Miles Wide.”

Storm Large. Her recorded music doesn’t quite capture the whiplash power and muscle of her live performance, but it’s still mighty strong. It will tide you over until she blows through town again.