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Mar 30 2019
Not The End Of Steve: A Review Of Steve Grand At The Laurie Beechman Theatre In NYC Comments (0)

IMG_1988*Baby Grand (All images by Matthew Rettenmund)

I was an early champion of Steve Grand, back when his “All-American Boy” music video caused a sensation — and a lot of confusion as to who he was as an artist — and made him a lightning rod for adulation, criticism and thirst.

IMG_1823a*Steve rehearses into the void, the ghost of Disco Past his witness.

It hasn't been a boring six years.

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IMG_1759*Pick of the litter

I met him in the middle of the night on an early NYC trip, interviewed him (and more than once), covered his first NYC gigs, hit him up in Chicago, covered his forays into jockstrap fetishism and workoutaholism, and was proud to sign him up to appear in an episode of Boy Culture: The Series (still being edited).

IMG_1808*It was a show before the show.

Friday, I had another chance to see him perform live, at the lovely Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 W. 42nd St., NYC), at the first of two sold-out shows, and what I was most struck by was not my familiarity with him, but by how much he's changed and grown as an artist.

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IMG_1878*****Piano man

First, Steve is a pro at engaging his audience, a skill honed, no doubt, by his working summers in P-Town. He talks about his musical origin story, opens up some about his romantic journey (it's still so imprtant to have out gay artists speaking about this) and gives little clues as to why he's singing the songs he's singing, made up of his solid, often sweeping original material, and crowd-pleasing covers.

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IMG_1859*Flowers from a secret admirer

Nervous before the show, Steve worked through a soundcheck, trying to ignore the necessary noise as the servers set things up and his team prepped his merch table and I snapped away. He sounded good, but was not unafraid to reach for notes and try them a few times, feeling things out. Once the show began, however, it was as if he'd strolled in off the street without any practice required. Smooth without being smarmy, and never playing into his movie-star looks (beyond his tastefully sexy uniform of white T-shirt, black leather harness-suspenders, blue jeans), he was as completely engaging as his vocals were.

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IMG_1873******Steve portrait studio

Did I mention he also plays the guitar and the piano?

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Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 5.35.31 PMThis suite of images represents Steve's show-opener.

Steve opened strong with his emphatic “Stay” before his highly effective cover suite of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen/“Forever Young” by Alphaville/“Old Man” by Neil Young, all guitar-driven.

IMG_9531*Laddie Gaga

He revisited Queen with “Somebody to Love” and hit the appreciative crowd with a one-two Lady Gaga punch of “Born This Way” and “Shallow” (the latter of which he is probably retiring soon as it's cliché, but he does nail it).

IMG_9536******Welcome to the after-show, where all guests are VIP.

He of course wouldn't disappoint and neglect “All-American Boy,” his calling card, and also pulled out “We Are the Night,” the truly outstanding “Pink Champagne” and held the room rapt with his “Disciple,” which has become his newest and most daring music video. While discussing his parents' dismay at the bloody statement, he also pointed out he kisses a 60-year-old man in the clip — which I think was on half the room's Amazon Wish List, even if intergenerational lust can turn a parent right off.

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IMG_9572*The stickers were free, as were the hugs.

After the show, Steve hung out and signed and posed for everyone in his GrandFam. Don't miss him if he plays near you — and check out BandsInTown to be sure you don't.

Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 12.17.33 AMJoan Rivers tried out new material at the Laurie Beechman weekly.

Steve Grand's show was a Spin Cycle production. Visit Spin Cycle NYC for info on upcoming shows!

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