Material: What we have here for this Los Angeles concert is primarily rock and blues. Layne is a character who entertains with her bubbly personality as her band segues between numbers. It’s immediately apparent that Layne is a great storyteller not just in terms of her banter but also her lyrics. She relates how a gossip session with childhood friends was the impetus for her song, “I Thought That Bitch Moved” with a chorus, “No doubt that broad got crazy problems/If she thinks she’s back for him/Oh I’ll help her pack again...” and a bridge, “I want to put her right back in her place/Smack that look up off her face.”
Musicianship: There are a wide variety of beats in this set, from the funk of “Stick Shift King,” to the samba of “Man at Home” to the country of “I Thought That Bitch Moved.” Broes segues flawlessly between them all, aided by some unique bass lines by Huggy. Reid is more restrained here than in his solos but brings out his slide for Latin flair on “Man at Home.” Cole comes through at the finale for a meaty lead solo on “Cherry Moonshine.” The band is so tight the audience is stone silent on their breaks.
Performance: Layne had no problem opening up to her audience and even got flirtatious. This comes with a cost of the occasional heckler, but Layne has the confidence to heckle right back. Although she was animated throughout her performance, Layne doesn’t work the stage much. A wireless mic might have been a good option in place of the house equipment that was experiencing feedback issues. Although the rest of the band doesn’t use microphones, they projected surprisingly well.
After the band left the stage Layne encored, a cappella, with Willie Nelson’s classic “Crazy.” Layne explained she was singing at a higher scale than Patsy Cline’s best remembered version. This was interesting because the song captured Layne’s natural vibrato, which was missing through the majority of a rock set distinguished by a growl that became a little overused.
Summary: With her natural vocal quality coming through, Layne could easily transition to musical theatre. There may be room for an original ballad in this style to round out her set even further and really highlight her superior vocal chops.
The Players: Tarra Layne, vocals; John Broes, drummer; Vincent Cole, lead guitarist; Colin Reid, rhythm guitarist; D.J. Huggy, bassist.
Photo by Terecita Baker
Venue: The Mint
City: Los Angeles
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