Kelly Howe and The House Divided Band Rock the Blue Strawberry

By: Sep. 21, 2023

PROFESSOR SUNSHINE’S TRAVELING POST-APOCALYPITIC ROCK AND ROLL REVIVAL rolled into Blue Strawberry Showroom and Lounge tonight. Midnight Company’s latest effort is their third theatrical cabaret performance that uses a loose narrative to support Rock ‘n Roll songs. In this production the vocals are delivered by a chanteuse named Cheyenne played by Kelly Howe, and she gets to rip into some of the great rock ‘n roll songs of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

This concept show is an eclectic, quirky and off kilter story of a traveling band visiting down-trodden cities to lift the spirits of the residents with songs and tales of their time on the road. The story, created by Midnight Company’s artistic director Joe Hanrahan, tells the story of a time when spirits are low, and times are bad. The music is strung together using the narrative to introduce the songs. Sunshine and Cheyenne are touring through the towns with a musical performance to bring salvation and breathe life back into a population that is tired.

Kelly Howe follows up her incredible performance as Linda Ronstadt with another dynamic rock ‘n roll performance highlighting her immense range. She uses every type of timbre with vocal qualities ranging from falsetto to chest/head voice and belt. While the song set won’t be revealed in this review in order protect the mysterious fun of the production, Howe does get to tear into the music of Jimi Hendrix, The Animals, Led Zeppelin, Tears for Fears, Patti Smith and Roy Orbison. Howe’s big voice delivers and rocks the house in a Stevie Nicks-esque performance. The music she and Hanrahan chose to include in this show offers something for everyone across generations of music lovers. The musical highlight of the night was 1978 hit “Because the Night” by The Patti Smith Band that was again covered in 1993 by 10,000 Maniacs featuring Natalie Merchant on vocals. Howe slayed this song while the audience nodded along with the drumbeat. One thing is certain, Howe knows how to deliver a rock ‘n roll song with grand panache.

Howe and Hanrahan are backed up by The House Divided Band featuring music director Curt Landes on piano and background vocals, Tom Maloney on guitar and bass, and Mark Rogers on percussion and background vocals. The House Divided Band plays tight versions of all the savage rock songs featured in the show. Maloney specifically shines for his bass and his lead guitar work on classics from The Animals and Jimi Hendrix.

Hanrahan has once again delivered a fun cabaret style show of rock music. This production comes highly recommended to fans of the rock genre thanks to Howe’s exceptional sense of phrasing, beat and rhythm, and the performance of The House Divided Band. The story works to the extent needed to string together the eclectic mix of songs.

There is one additional performance at Blue Strawberry Showroom and Lounge on Saturday, September 23rd at 8:30 PM. Ticket sales have been brisk, and space is limited. Click the link below to purchase tickets to the Saturday performance of PROFESSOR SUNSHINE’S TRAVELING POST-APOCALYPTIC ROCK ‘N ROLL REVIVAL.

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