Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review: Tamela Mann at the Folly Theater

For a sanctified second on Saturday, the Holy Spirit seemed to roll through the Folly Theater.  A member of Isaac Cates & Ordained stepped to the front of the stage and began to roar with a voice that belied her small frame.

The sound issues that plagued the concert momentarily dissipated.  Taken aback by the ferocious power of their colleague's conviction, several members of the choir doubled over in celebratory shock.  A significant portion of the audience of approximately 700 jumped to their feet.  I was similarly overcome. Tears flowed down my cheeks.

It was the highlight of a night of rapturous peaks and scandalously disappointing lows.  The concert was part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City's annual celebration of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Tickets were $16.

The evening got off to a rough start as the opening remarks of Mia Ramsey- a woman who proved to be an excellent master of ceremonies- were inaudible.   Patrons of events at the Folly Theater can usually count on the opportunity to bask in the venue's pristine acoustics.  The sound was disastrous Saturday.  If the sonic technicians were attempting to recreate the crackly and distorted sound of a 1950's field recording of a tent revival, well, they succeeded.

A brief opening appearance by Shanice and Maurice Hayes was a fiasco.  Their prerecorded backing tracks were a muddle.  The father and daughter had one semi-functional microphone between them.  What a shame.  Isaac Cates & Ordained overcame the sonic debacle through sheer talent (and a possible act of God). 

David Mann, the husband of the celebrated actress and gospel star Tamela Mann, wasn't about to leave the fate of his wife's headlining performance in God's hands.

"I want to make sure you get the real Tamela Mann," David Mann told the audience as the sound was tested.

The precautionary work didn't pay off.  Mann may have opened with "Best Days."  I'm not sure.   I couldn't hear her over the wildly distorted music.  A solid band was game, but Mann inexplicably insisted on a karaoke approach for selections including the Grammy-nominated and current chart-topping gospel hit "Take Me To the King".

Mann is an amazingly dynamic performer.  Yet she was on stage for just 45 minutes.  She spent part of that time indicating that she and her husband David were eager to sell "product" (her word) in the lobby.   This essential fan footage shot at the concert reveals the best and worst aspects of Mann's performance.  Mann dances as the house band fires on all cylinders.  Then she sneaks a peak at her watch at the 1:08 mark.

Clock-watching- even in a trying situation- is a bad look.

Claire and the Crowded Stage made a video for "Technicolor".

"Slidecam duet."  (Via Hey Cameraman.)

Kansas City Click: Hermon Mehari and Mark Lowrey open the week by trading their regular nights at the Majestic.  The switch allows Mehari to play on Sunday while Lowrey will appear on Monday.

John Fullbright returns to Knuckleheads on Tuesday.

The RecordBar hosts Ryan Lee Toms on Wednesday.

Wayland plays the Riot Room on Thursday.

(Original image of Isaac Cates & Ordained by There Stands the Glass.)

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