Gas Lamp was home this past Friday to two of the scene’s strongest female personalities who teamed up for a show that had its share of bright spots, even in the face of some obvious hiccups.
Hiccup one: Opening act Kira Barker, performing what can only be described as karaoke so bad it wasn’t even worth the ink it’s taking to describe it.
But that finally gave way to Bonne Finken. Finken is a known commodity and a consummate professional. There’s hardly a safer bet to be booked in the local music scene, because you know that whatever happens, Finken’s going to deliver a beautifully performed set backed by some of the best musicians in the city. And on Friday night, despite chronic monitor issues, that’s precisely what the Gas Lamp audience was treated to.
The evening’s headliner was Sharika Soal, who’s completely re-vamped her show over the course of the last year. Gone is the live band behind her, replaced instead by backing tracks and a couple of supporting dancers. Going into the evening, the one thing that everyone could agree about with regard to Soal was that she’s got a lucrative voice. Nobody has ever doubted her ability to sing, and she reminded everyone why that is last Friday. But, for as good as the pipes are, not having a live band sucks a lot of the spontaneity and joy out of the show. The dancers are fun, and Soal is always a treat to watch as she shimmies around the stage, but the best music is the stuff that’s played live. For as talented as Soal is — and don’t ever make the mistake of thinking she isn’t — she needs a band to give the sound some, well, soul. CV