Friday, January 22, 2016

Marcia Ball and Company Rocks The Tin Pan

Why is it that the day before a hurricane, or a blizzard in this case, is often beautiful and sunny? I’m no meteorologist, but there has to be something to that whole “calm before the storm” thing.
So it’s no surprise that the day before the first big blizzard of 2016, an amazing ray of sunshine in the form of Marcia Ball rode in to Richmond’s Tin Pan restaurant and music venue with a hot band and they chased the blues for an appreciative sold out crowd.
If you’ve never seen Ball perform, check out her schedule and get tickets as soon as you can, because she puts on one helluva show from start to finish and her brand of swamp boogie blues is infectious and just about the most fun a person could have.
On this night, in front of a packed house, she and her band (Mighty Mike Schermer on guitar; Don Bennett on Bass; Thad Scott sax; and Damien Llanes drums) ripped through a fast-paced two hours featuring some cuts from her latest album, The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man as well as some of her best known songs.
That’s one thing about Ball, while she sounds fine on a record, she’s meant to be experienced live. She’s a great performer and as such, it’s more than just her music that excites her audience – it’s her presence. She’s confident but not ostentatious, the kind of performer that can do with a wave of her hand or lighting up her killer smile than many can do with extended choreography.
While her fast numbers got the crowd excited (you could see more than a few wanted to dance, but the Tin Pan was so crowded, that was impossible) it was her ballads that truly touched our hearts. Her version of Randy Newman’s Louisiana 1927 or her own This Used To Be Paradise moved more than one fan to tears.
She was without a doubt the star of the evening, but she graciously shared the spotlight with all of her band. Schermer and Scott both took extended leads, and Ball even sang backup when Schermer sang a song off of his latest CD, Blues In Good Hands.
Mighty Mike Schermer  hanging with The Professor
Despite the eminent storm warnings, Ball and Company even stayed after the show was over talking to anyone who wanted to spend some time with her or the band. They may have been eager to get out of town to avoid being stranded in the close to two feet of snow that was expected to fall, but you would never have known it.
In short, the performance was so good that it reminded me of why I got into this in the first place – to share the magic of a live performance. Any chance you get to catch live music; you should take it. Even the bands and artists you don’t know may surprise you and you just might find yourself on a beautiful evening in roomful of like-minded people.
And let’s hope Marcia Ball will make another appearance soon. She’s definitely one of a kind. 

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