Beth Hart Burns Down the ‘Burgh

by Michael Rampa

Beth HartBeth Hart is one of those gifted singers that draws immediate comparisons to some of the greatest of all time like Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin. She is a Grammy nominee. And you’ve probably never heard of her. Such is the peril of truly gifted artists in today’s musical landscape.

The notoriety she has garnered is from a very specific core demographic of hardcore purists and a few from her furious collaborations with guitar titan Joe Bonamassa. On Saturday evening in Pittsburgh, she took the stage at the historic Carnegie Music Hall clad in all black with ink on both arms and put on nothing less than a tour de force performance. She and her overly capable four piece persevered through technical difficulties and oppressive heat.

Hart’s infectious energy, humor and powerful stage presence allowed the crowd to ride out schizophrenic lighting malfunctions and underpowered air conditioning. Save for the band intros, the 43 year old Los Angeles native rarely took her foot off the gas pedal. It all started early on with a scorching version of Ike and Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits” where she sonically dwarfed her guitarists’ dueling cranked up Les Paul and Strat.

Far from just a vocal pyro technician, Hart displayed impressive range during the set.  She wove her way through blues, rock, soul and even gospel. Behind the keyboard, she performed a moving rendition of her moving ballad “Leave the Light On” and dedicated “Mechanical Heart” to husband and road manager, Scott Guetzkow. The Stones were playing their stadium show only a few miles down the river to about 30,000. But a very fortunate smallish crowd of about 600 here also saw a show here from one of today’s best vocalists that also rocked, HARD.

For more, visit www.bethhart.com

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