Portland-Based Storm Large Graced Tacoma with Flair

Portland-Based Storm Large Graced Tacoma with Flair

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Photo: John Rudoff
Photo: John Rudoff

Storm Large opened the season for Tacoma’s Theater on the Square.  The 300 capacity, newly renovated theater was half-full with excited fans.  Many of them were introduced to Storm in 2006 when she was a finalist on CBS’ Rock Star Supernova and from her time spent touring with Portland-based band, Pink Martini.

Storm walked onto the stage like a shy teenage girl and gave the audience a timid wave that said, “I’m excited that you are all here tonight.”  She was wearing a satin gown, bare feet, and a personality almost too extraordinary to be held inside her six-foot frame.

The show is a tour through Storm’s originals, outstanding covers, and her hilarious commentary on everything that crosses her mind.  She’s crazy. She’s a sweetheart.  And she made us all fall in love with her.  Brilliant.

She was accompanied by her playful band: James Beaton (piano), Scott Weddle (guitar) Greg Eklund (Drums), and Matt Brown (Bass).

The first set started out with two Cole Porter songs “Under my Skin” and “It’s All Right with Me.”  She joked that “It’s All Right with Me”is basically a song about “You’re married and I’m married, but fuck it, we’re drunk,” And then she began tapping the tambourine against her thigh and belted out her unique vocal version of Porter’s classic song.

She then performed an upbeat original, “Boom Boom,”that she described as being about puppy love.  The hilarious, twisted lyrics were delivered with an energetic, theatrical stage presence.

Next we heard a cover of Elvis Costello’s “I Want You.”  And, of course, nothing is serious to Storm Large and her band so the song was delivered as a joke about being stalked after a first date that didn’t go quite right.  She waled on the chorus with a gritty vocal and slid back into crystal crisp high notes.  And then it was a blues rock cover of “Stay With Me.”

Her next topic of jokes depicted the dynamics in hetero relationships and how Tom Waits was great at writing about them. Again, Storm added her personal vocal flair to Waits’ “Saving All My Love for You.”  Stunning.

Storm said in an interview with The Seattle Lesbian in August that she speaks some Spanish, and it flowed perfectly through Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” legs rocking under her satin gown.  In her warm, charming way, she cheered an audience member and said, “Buy that guy a beer” for knowing who wrote that song.

Storm Large with Pink Martini
Storm Large with Pink Martini

She took a moment to acknowledge the day’s news of Joan Rivers’ passing, thanked her for what she gave the world, and then beautifully sang, “Angels in Gas Stations.”  The set closed with Storm whispering, “Good Night Joan.”

The second set was opened by bringing out a piece of fan art that was given to her that evening.  It was a nude painting of Storm.  Sincere gratitude is expressed and she jokingly thanked the artist for painting her feet small.

Storm was next seen in a gold-coined mermaid dress while holding a tiny ukulele.  The audience was treated to the song “A Women’s Heart.”  The song is finished with her playfully mock-smashing the uke over the audience.

Storm’s original piece (“Inside Outside”) from her 2009 album Crazy Enough was next. “Maybe Next Time,” a song from Cabaret in which she played Sally Boyles with Portland Center Stage, followed.  She then performed Jacques Brel’s, “No Me Quitte Pas” in French and English.

Storm painted for the audience a picture of the famous closing scene of Grease..but only if the tables were reversed and if Sandy were a little twisted.  Her version of “Hopelessly Devoted” had the crowd roaring, kind of like everything that she did that night.  The set wrapped up with two more originals, “Call me Crazy” and “Eight Miles Wide” before a cover of “Where is my Mind?”

For an encore Storm and the band performed “Stand Up For Me.”  It’s a song about marriage equality and is on the album Le Bonheur that releases in October.  The lyrics go: “Stand up.  Be the light.  Be the answer.  Be the music in the dark.  Stand up.  Rise.  And I’ll stand beside you.”

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