Beth Hart Band recently played the Fillmore. She gave a powerful, no fluff performance wearing a hip hop stocking cap and a full length backless black dress, looking much different from the record label head shot pictured here. The songs are good on cd, but watching her perform them adds an emotion and intensity that you just can’t get without being there. At only 27, the way she talks with zeal about her life of trials and tribulations, she reminds one of a reformed addict friend that doesn’t quite know how to control herself and act right in public. One might feel a bit sorry for her at first glance, but her out of control energy makes her a true performer of a special caliber. After a few songs, the way she just lets it all hang out becomes admirable and the audience was obviously touched by her vibe as they cheered her and yelled for more.
I overheard a fan telling the doorman “. . .When I saw her on Star Search in ’91, she seemed a little spastic for that crowd, kinda like Joe Cocker, ya’ know….. but I loved her and I’ve kept my eye out for her shows and albums ever since”. And anyone with a love for music that gets deep inside should do the same. This chick has raw emotion that explodes out of some lyrics and drips quietly out of others. Whatever the words, you can tell she’s really felt it and her streetwise demeanor comes through on stage to make the songs feel all the more real. Before begining the acoustic session, she casually answered questions from the audience and spoke openly about drugs, getting lost in them, run ins with bad guys and finding herself again. Her honesty and lack of fear for speaking the truth was refreshing and added to her bold, unhampered quality. The audience could feel her warmth and the excitement running through her as she spoke vibrantly about the happiness she has found in working with this band.
The first artist that came to mind when I played the new and aptly titled Beth Hart cd “Screamin’ For My Supper” was Janis Joplin’s enthusiastic and gut spilling style. Then I learned that she played Janis on stage for the Cleveland Playhouse’s production of Love, Janis. She has received universal acclaim for that performance and is now happy to be playing in clubs like the Fillmore with her “best friends” – the very talented drummer Rocco Bilovski from Cleveland and powerful guitarist Jimmy Khoury from Austin, who back her up in a big way, artistically complimenting her raw style.
– – – Darrow Boggiano