The blues scene sports a number of big bodied, big voiced female singers, but none has a personal history quite as provocative as Candye Kane. Single teenage mother, stripper, adult film star and now, a blues/swing singer with her star on the rise, Candye Kane offered the Wednesday night crowd at Lee's Liquor Lounge a sparkling example of her enormous talent (no pun intended) and justification for her being referred to as the "Queen of Swing.".
Like many of her female counterparts, Candye injects a fair amount of not-so-subtle sexuality into her stage show. However, unlike her peers, Candye's sexuality in just focused on the men in the audience. As evidenced by her self-described "bisexual swing song," "(Hey Mister) She Was My Baby Last Night," Candye Kane is proud of her sexual preferences and is not afraid to talk or sing about them.
The show at Lee's was the last night of a four week tour that took Candye and her bandmates; Marco Fiume (guitar), Stevie Utstein (keyboards & bassline), Robbie Smith (trumpet) and Paul Fazullo (drums); to 22 cities, from El Paso, Texas to Minneapolis, Minnesota. After an opening instrumental that allowed the members of the band to demonstrate their considerable musical talents, Candye Kane took the stage and belted out "200 Pounds of Fun" from her 1998 CD on Sire Records, Swango. For the remainder of the evening, Candye was sexy, vampy, funny, ribald and completely into the crowd and her show.
During the evening, Candye thanked the audience for coming out, for dancing and for supporting her efforts. She also expressed her gratitude to Antone's Records and Clifford Antone for ignoring her "checkered" past and giving her a chance to prove herself as a singer by just being herself and not some reformed imaginary personality as suggested by the record companies who thought she was too controversial, too heavy or too unmarketable to take a chance on. With her latest CD on Rounder, The Toughest Girl Alive, Kane has proven to the skeptics that she is a talent to be reckoned with and recognized by the music business as a significantly talented singer and songwriter.
Singing songs from all five of her recordings, Kane's play list included several songs from her latest CD and gems from her previous recordings. Along with her self-proclaimed favorite from Toughest Girl, "For Your Love," the band also performed "Who Do You Love (It's Alright)," "Scream In The Night," and "Let's Commit Adultery" from the new CD, among others. Before starting "Let's Commit Adultery," Candye let everyone know that "you don't have to commit it to dance to it!"
Backing up Candye's strong vocals, Marco Fiume, Stevie Utstein, Robbie Smith and Paul Fazullo provided strong musical support. The stellar trumpet work by Robbie Smith and excellent guitar by Marco Fiume were provided with a solid backbeat thanks to Paul Fazullo's tight drumming and the keyboard bass lines provided by Stevie Utstein, who also pulled off some excellent solo work on organ and piano. The band was very tight and seemed to be having a great time, along with Candye. The band is relatively "young," with Robbie Smith serving as the senior member at 2 years and Paul Fazullo coming in at a short 6 weeks. The "youth" of the band didn't seem to have any negative effect the their ability to put on a tight and entertaining show, however.
Candye Kane's great stage presence and fabulous voice, coupled with her tight band, definitely made the evening at Lee's Liquor Lounge one to remember. Candye is the epitome of the "Big Beautiful Woman" and a singer worth seeing any time she comes into town.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Doc Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.