I could start this review by telling you all about the horrible Nor’easter snowstorm that left so many of us buried under feet of heavy snow, but instead let me tell you all about the show that I witnessed during the aftermath of said snowstorm that melted all of our frosty dispositions.
Upgraded from the coziness of the Brooklyn hotspot Baby’s All Right just last year, Theo Katzman played to a beyond sold-out crowd in the much larger space of Music Hall of Williamsburg. As a matter of fact, the entire tour is sold out, which makes me feel even luckier to be in the room to witness everything I did that night.
Before I get to the main event, however, let me start with opening act, Bridget Kearney. You might recognize her name from the band, Lake Street Dive, but Bridget entertained us with selections from her 2017 solo effort, Won’t Let You Down. Her voice had a very interesting tone to it. It was almost as if she was holding a deep, intense conversation with us, instead of just singing the lyrics. The majority of her set was just her onstage with her electric guitar; the sparse strumming matched the intensity of the lyrics. Earned healthy rounds of applause in between each number, the clapping and hollers increased tenfold when Bridget welcomed Lake Street Dive bandmate Rachael Price to the stage to air our a few verses of an unreleased tune. As bandmates filed onstage and took their spots behind their instruments, Theo joined Bridget for a number, and showcased some mind-numbing harmonies. Their voices melded together like hot butter on toast.
After a short stage changeover, the members of Theo’s band, lovingly referred to as the Four Fine Gentlemen, with Joe Dart on bass, Jordan Rose on drums, Lee Pardini on keys and James Cornelison on guitar, launched right into their set with none other than “Hard Work,” the lead single off Theo’s sophomore album, Heartbreak Hits. Now there is a lot to be said about the caliber of crowd participation at a Vulfpeck show, and naturally by extension, Theo’s show is full of the same kind of people. Everyone willing to sing as loud as they possibly can, eager to participate in three-part harmonies when Theo ask, (and we all know that Theo loves a good three-part, crowd-led harmony), and the crowd will dance like nobody is watching.
A high-energy performance from beginning to end, Theo and the rest of the band put on one of the most incredible, dynamic and engaging shows I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of. Moving from upbeat numbers like “My Heart Is Dead” to a mellow one like “1-Bedroom,” the crowd was able to contain itself enough to let the beauty of Theo’s incredible falsetto and overall range shine through.
Never one to be afraid to jump in literally, Theo headed deep into the crowd to sing with and amongst the fans in the crowd who were up to the task. Security feverishly chased after him for apparently no good reason because when Theo ventures into a crowd, he’s in the safest space he can possibly be. People are usually more concerned with hitting a high E note instead of ripping him limb from limb. Joining the party, his friend, and self-described “musical inspiration” Caleb Hawley hopped onstage to sing along with Theo at some point, surprising everyone. My only exposure to Caleb Hawley was his stint back on American Idol, so this was absolutely a treat for me.
To wrap up the show, the requests for “Brooklyn,” a song from Theo’s debut album Romance Without Finance made its way into the set and produced one of the most spirited sing-along moments of the entire set. An acapella rendition of “Love Is A Beautiful Thing” rendered the room speechless, and before I knew it the boys were all waving goodbye, and the show was over. Of course Theo and the band spent ample amount of time by the merch booth taking photos, singing things and talking to anyone who wandered over, but Theo, if you’re reading this… ONE SHOW A YEAR IN NY IS NOT ENOUGH!! The sold-out status of the tour tells me that more and more people are catching on to the brilliance of his songwriting and his impeccable voice, but in my most selfish heart of hearts, I WANT MORE.
Article: Lesley Keller