BWW Review: Singer Levi Kreis Brings HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS to LGBT Center
There is only one Levi Kreis. No one can compare! He has the voice of country, pop, jazz and r&b rolled into one and filled with a deep soulful yearning that is at once recognizable yet clearly out of reach. He is bar none the most fascinating singer of our time.
Saturday December 7, Kreis returned to the Renberg Theatre of the LGBT Center on McCadden in Hollywood for a unique Christmas concert with special guest star Jason Antone, a deliriously talented crossover classical singer who also happens to be his life partner. Backed by two musicians Josh on guitar and Garrett on drums, referred to throughout the 105 minute set as the Levi Kreis band, and two backup singers Danisha and Miss Pam, Kreis literally bled for his audience. More on that later.
This was a Christmas Show with a CD entitled Home for the Holidays. Songs included: "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", "Hard Candy Christmas", one of my favorite Dolly Parton tunes from Best Little Whorehoue, "Merry Christmas Darling", "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and Joni Mitchell's "River" plus a one of a kind "O Holy Night" that brought the house down. Antone came onstage with a clever intro that led us to believe he was a crossover artist that Kreis had gotten to know, nothing more, and sang "Historia de un Amor" and Andrea Bocelli's "Romanza". Needless to say, the man has a glorious voice and knocked both songs out of the park. When he returned later in the program, Kreis told us he was his partner and they had just celebrated their first anniversary. They dueted "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge. The intensely moving musical experience brought tears to our eyes. Antone also has a lovely CD titled Inside My Heart.
Kreis infuses his show with delicious stories about his mother Connie Lee and granddaddy Leroy from Oliver Springs, Tennessee where he grew up. He is never afraid to go for broke and say what he feels, lewd or not. One hilarious nod to Leroy with his Appalachian humor was telling Levi that he knew who Tina Turner was and he sang, "What's love? I got to do it. I got to do it."
Kreis also took time to talk about what it is like to be empowered by pain, to suffer for one's art without getting proper recognition, as he was spurned many times by record studios for being gay. His stories mean so very much to those gay youth today who are improperly bullied. Kreis fought hard for his music and to be who he is. He is an inspiration.
Kreis did play Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet, winning a Tony Award on Broadway and you can see how well suited his style is to this icon every time he moves his butt in the air off the piano stool and pounds the keyboard...hard. Well, getting back to bleeding for his audience like a very intense actor, Kreis came out before his encore song asking for a bandaid. He had hurt his finger and was actually bleeding. He went on with the show, pain or not, and pounded the keyboard one last time.
Every time I come to a Levi Kreis concert, I leave feeling elevated and ready to face the world with a new spirit and courage. Yes, his powerhouse style and presence move mountains. Don't miss him wherever and whenever he makes an appearance.
In the meantime, to purchase the new CD or any of his electric albums, visit: