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BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

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Downtown favorite Lauren Marcus tests the Uptown waters and the water is better than fine.

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

Lauren Marcus should not be on a cabaret stage. Fortunately for her fans, she plays cabaret stages, like the one at Feinstein's/54 Below, and they get to enjoy the intimate setting provided by the room. That doesn't change the fact that Lauren Marcus should not be on a cabaret stage. Lauren Marcus should be on an amphitheater stage. Lauren Marcus should be on The Madison Square Garden stage. Lauren Marcus should be on all the big stages because Lauren Marcus is a rock star.

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below Take all the female rock stars you have known and loved and roll them up into one. Take, for instance, Linda Ronstadt's soul, Tina Turner's sexiness, Pat Benatar's grit, Debbie Harry's defiance, and all of the Go-Go's playfulness, mix and bake at 350, then frost with a five-inch thick layer of The Icing of Originality, and you've got Lauren Marcus. A true original, this actor, singer, dancer, writer, songwriter, raconteur, and style icon had her eponymous 54 Below debut last night, where she melded the edginess of her downtown vibe with the elegance of the Broadway supper club, creating a new experience that this writer hopes will be available for future audiences looking for a rock show in an intimate setting.

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below Thanks to the glittery gilt background of the club and their lighting grid (spectacularly manned by Becky Morris) and the ferocity of Marcus and her entire band, last night's concert was an evocative evening of emotions expressed by the artists through music and consumed by an audience so grateful for the opportunity to be enveloped by the experience that they would have stayed another hour, if possible. Ms. Marcus made it clear that she only sings original compositions, so unless a person is already a fan and knows her work, the hour-long show was a completely new journey to be taken and that was what happened to this writer, who is so much the better for having bought a ticket for the ride.

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below It's easy to put on a good show if you have good material, and Ms. Marcus did not present one single composition that wasn't to be enjoyed. Her melodies are tuneful in a way that carries you off in a blaze of contentment as you sit in your chair, allowing the music to wash over you; meanwhile, the lyrics composed are sentences of such vivid poetry that you can't, quite, be washed away entirely because of the need to stay grounded enough to listen to the story she is telling. And, man, how she tells the stories. With a hypnotic voice unlike any ever before heard, Marcus presents like a medium channeling some mysterious force sent for the sole purpose of storytelling. Fully invested in each composition, she bewitches on "Talk Me Into Something Good" before immediately breaking hearts on "Drugstore", both songs of her own composition, both compositions designed to create in the mind a specific emotion, and in the soul a memorable experience. Detached by the craft of storytelling, Marcus remains accessible through impish furtive glances to the audience and knowing asides to a band being led by the rising of a finger or shifting of her weight. Like a musical Mona Lisa, Lauren Marcus has a secret, one she will siphon to the audience one melodic phrase at a time IF she should, so, choose. Then, just when you think you've got her (even slightly) figured out, she springs another exciting facet of her artistic aesthetic on you with songwriting that is intricate and interesting, well-thought-out and purposeful, and always performed in a manner best likened to a light electric shock, particularly in numbers like "Big Hat" and "Funeral", both of which she saved for the end of a show replete with interesting moments.

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below Watching Lauren Marcus at work is fascinating because she is an actress and, hence, completely informed by the story that she is telling. From tip to tail, her entire physicality takes on the character of the anecdote, even while the rock star stands center stage in all her diva glory. Some people have choreography for their show, but choreography has to be learned. Marcus has body-ography - a natural ability to move in perfect syncopation with the music AND the story AND the rock and roll of it all. Like a Jello mold, Lauren's body goes where the music goes, with a wrist-flick here and a hip-pop there, and the chin is down, the head is back, she's on the floor, she's on her toes, and then she is absolutely still, awash with confident, committed storytelling artistry. Then the musical story is finished and Lauren Marcus is shootin' the sh*t with you about what a bad day she and Joe had, or remembering the details of an album cover from her youth, or praising the women sharing the stage with her to provide additional vocals. Just like that, though, she dives feet-first into the next song and the next story, and you find your head spinning as you fall more deeply in love with her.

And, dudes, you will fall in love with her.

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

Then you will go home and look up her website, look up her YouTube, look up her music, and look for the next time she is going to perform live. That's what you do when you become an instantaneous and devoted fan of a singer, whether they are a rock singer or a cabaret singer. The question is: what kind of singer is Lauren Marcus? It doesn't matter. All that matters is that she sings and that she keeps on singing, whatever the venue. All's you gotta do is find the venue and go. Oh... and enjoy the show.

Visit the Lauren Marcus website HERE.

Check out the Lauren Marcus YouTube channel HERE.

See what other great shows are coming up at the Feinstein's/54 Below website HERE.

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below

BWW Review: LAUREN Rocks, Shocks, and Unlocks the MARCUS Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below
Lauren and Joe

Photos by Stephen Mosher


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