WOW! Is not a big enough word to describe the Michelle Malone Band, but WOW!
Over the years I have been to easily thousands of shows. I have seen and heard the good, the bad and the ugly. This band that I saw last night at The Listening Room was just WOW!
Michelle Malone Band snatched us up from whatever weary spot we may have perched on and she slung us around the room like ragdolls! I watched others around me and I felt the excitement surging through my bones. It was apparent that she had grabbed us all in the process. There was no denying the power that this woman possesses. She was loud, strong, and super-humanly talented, yet she was engaging and made us feel like we were part of her show.
I am not sure what it was that I expected when I entered the doors of The Listening Room last night but it was not this! She jerked us out of our chairs with the first note she played and the first words she sang were not just sang….they were expelled from her and cast out to us with brute force. It was breath-taking and we could not get enough.
Michelle Malone was the core, the leader of this band. She had help from the bass player and sometimes back up vocalist, Reno Roberts. He made it look so easy! Her lead guitarist was Doug Kees (EXCEPTIONAL guitarist). Her (FABULOUS) drummer was Linda Bolley. It was quite obviously the perfect recipe for great music! I have NEVER seen anyone play the guitars the way Michelle played all of hers. She changed out from acoustic to electric numerous times. Most of the time she wielded a red slide that helped her eke out some of the most stirring sounds I have ever heard….and trust me I have heard a LOT!
It was amazing how this tiny built woman held the other three in her control. She would lift her left leg high in the air and when that leg dropped everyone on the stage played or stopped playing as she commanded it be done. We, on the other hand were on the edge of a cliff and just waiting for her to give us our orders…no matter what, we would have followed her, to the ends of the earth, into a fire or deep under the waters…we were ready to go to wherever she desired to take us!
She started the show with a quick introduction of herself. Said she is from Atlanta and lived five years in Decatur, Alabama. She told us her first song was about her family. It was titled “Vivian Vegas” and she performed better than any Vegas show I have ever seen. The line I shall never forget in her family song was “she and dad made me in the back seat of a Ford”. She started us off with that song about her family and once she yanked us out of our seats…she did not let us go for hours! We were happy to be along for this magic carpet ride!
Her next song had a unique line in it that caught my eye, “Jesus sitting in Alabama waiting on a train”,(you just don’t hear that line often enough).
Michelle is a prolific songwriter. She has 15 CDs out…yes 15! She advised us she has a new record out that debuted on the charts at number 8! That's not bad …its any songwriter’s dream to reach 8 and she started there.
Another song delivered a wonderful life message. She had us to sing it back to her numerous times and we gladly obeyed her request. No truer words were ever spoken…”Until you love yourself, you can’t love nobody else”. We sang it back to her so many times, we all got the message loud and clear….until you love yourself, you can’t love nobody else.
There was also what I might call a party song and quickly she had the audience chanting words most would probably not normally say (Or perhaps they would, I don’t know)….”You bring the Weed, I’ll bring the Wine!”
The wonderful Lisa P Mills was in the audience and Michelle beckoned her to the stage to join in on a cover song. I am telling you, when you combine greatness with greatness you get such things as goosebumps, chills and even tears (of joy). The two of them sang one of my favorite Otis Redding songs, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”…Those familiar lyrics rolled off the tongues of everyone in that room as we could not help but join in. “I’ve been loving you too long, I can’t stop now.” That is a deep emotion I feel every day, so that song draped me like a warm blanket on a cool evening and I wanted to lay there and savor every bit of the deep feeling their voices were casting out at us. Of course there was a resounding standing ovation at the conclusion of that song.
She lightened the air a bit when she sang her Georgia song. Those words made me smile, “tighten up the springs on the bed”….it painted its own picture.
“Don’t make me bring the hammer down” also painted an interesting image in my mind and I loved it every time she sang that line.
I have always enjoyed the Beatles song, Eleanor Rigby…the line “all the lonely people, where do they all come from?”…it haunts me. What Michelle did to the song was absolutely amazing…I never wanted it to end and I will never hear it the same again.
At one point Michelle said she has been doing this for 30 years. My jaw dropped because I could not believe she was old enough to be doing this that long. Her energy level is amazing and her skills on the many guitars she played were mind-boggling to me. I am not new to the music scene, I have seen a huge number of performances and this young lady brought my expectations up to a level that I may never be able to enjoy anyone else again. She was, she was…WOW!
Once again, I find myself thanking The Listening Room and Jim Pennington
Thanks also to Michelle Malone and her entire band, especially my friend Reno Roberts
Thanks to the fabulous audience that joined in and also respected this great talent.
I left The Listening Room a happy girl. When I laid my head on my pillow my eyes could not close, I relived this show more than once and I am grateful to have had such an experience. WOW!