Saturday, May 26, 2018

Lauren Ruth Ward and Magic Giant at The Chapel - A Concert Review

     It was an evening well-suited for study by any band searching for the most effective approaches to engage with an audience and grow a fervently loyal fanbase. Neither Lauren Ruth Ward nor Magic Giant was satisfied with merely relating to the gig-goers with banter. Both made the attendees feel they were part of the performance and both ventured off the stage and into the appreciative crowd.

      Lauren Ruth Ward went first, walking onto the stage at precisely the prescribed start time (9:00 pm). Her charisma was on full display, as she talked with fans near the stage and acknowledged fans who were further away or in the balcony.  Ward’s sensuality was also undeniable, which was sometimes tender and other times crotch-grabbing aggressive. Her decision to remove her jacket was welcomed by everyone.

     Ward writes with her guitarist, Eduardo Rivera, to generate songs that are introspective, often revealing, and always praiseworthy. The songs in her setlist included "Well, Hell,” which is a discussion with parents whose child doesn’t fit into their “tradition” sexual preference, and “Sideways,” a track reflecting upon the difficulties of acclimating to a significant life change.

     Embedded in this post is a short clip showing Ward and the rest of the band. The smile of the drummer was perpetual. And Ward’s multi-colored pants were not the only reach into the late 60s and early 70s. For example, at one point Ward went into the arms-extending-and-pumping style of a go-go dancer.

     “Blue Collar Sex Kitten”

     “Did I Offend You?”

     Magic Giant didn’t settle for the standard arrival for their performance. Instead, they made their way to the stage through the center of the crowd, with instruments ablaze. The on-stage energy never waned. The core of Magic Giant is three multi-instrumentalists. Lead singer Austin Bisnow plays cello, synthesizer, and percussion. He holds the cello as if it’s a guitar. And the man can dance. Zambricki Li plays viola, fiddle, banjo, harmonica, and mandolin. Li also sings backing vocals. Brian Zaghi plays guitar, upright bass, bass, percussion and sings backing vocals.

     For many, including us, the highlight of the Magic Giant performance came when the trio took temporary residence in the center of the crowd for a pair of songs.

     "Set On Fire"
     "Shake Me Up"

Setlist of Magic Giant at The Chapel in SF

Let's Start Again
Eyes Wide
Glass Heart
Love or Die
Celebrate The Reckless

Acoustic in audience
Great Divide
Nothin' Left

Shake Me Up
Let It Burn
Set on Fire

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