I often approach a live concert with extreme trepidation. Most of us have had experiences where the singer’s voice fails to match their voice that was recorded. I am very aware that a singer’s voice is sometimes “cleaned up” in the recording studio and that this practice is not often the fault of the individual singing, but is often a decision an engineer will make in accordance with a manager’s blessing. I do try to approach every situation without preconceived notions and it was with this frame of mind that I ventured out to see Claudine Dentoni perform at the Rockit Room in San Francisco, California recently.
I have listened to Claudine’s music several times before and after my interview that I conducted with her previously, so when she invited me to her concert debut at the Rockit Room I knew it would be a unique opportunity to witness a new singer beginning her career in the business.
As is customary when covering these kinds of events, I often arrive early so I can calculate the best angles for shooting images and for listening to the show. The location was vacant an hour before the show and immediately noticeable was the small table adorned with Claudine’s C.D. and various posters showcasing the “Make-A-Wish Foundation”. During the aforementioned interview, Claudine had mentioned that she was teaming up with the foundation to enable attendees to make donations at any time throughout her appearance at this CD release party occassion.
The venue started to fill about an hour after I made my appearance and there could be no doubt that an artist making her live debut would feel the anticipation that might make her feel a little hesitant. As if to tackle whatever hesitation she might have felt, Dentoni confidently stepped upon with a blistering and searing rendition of her song entitled, “Vice”. She set the tone for the rest of the evening with that particular song and indeed, Claudine bravely musically asked the audience to accept her as an emotionally bold singer without pretense.
Quite a number of singers can scream into a microphone, but few can actually control the tonal range and quality of their voice. Claudine’s mastery of her own voice was especially evident on her brilliant and unusual love song entitled, “Stay”. Dentoni demonstrated her remarkable ability to both entice and embrace all that were present with her subtle control of her vocal range. Listening and watching the singer perform was akin to being in a private studio listening to her lay down vocal tracks!
Many mistakenly believe that female singers cannot express sufficient aggression in their music without losing their feminine nature. This was not the case with Claudine Dentoni. She joyfully attacked the microphone and in thus doing, Dentoni invited the audience to release their aggressive nature in musical revelry! This release once again underscored what I feel to be her most inspiring trait as a singer-the fearless display of a human being gleefully displaying humanity-warts and all. Her rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” literally had the audience jumping and almost hanging from the rafters as if a great burden had been collectively released!
Claudine Dentoni clearly proved to everyone present that she is a hard rocking singer in the best tradition of Pat Benatar and also Teri Nunn of the 80’s group, “Berlin”. The first of her two final encore numbers was a hautingly beautiful rendition of “Hallelujah” that could also be found on her compact disk, “Wrestling Consciousness”. She once again demonstrated that she is not a one note pony with her soulful and overwhelmingly unapologetically religious song about redemption and reflection. It was a powerful moment that stirred all and a moment that will not be easily forgotten.
The only danger that might be noted at any of her future appearances is that she may be so open and unprotected in her performances as to be overwhelmed by her own powerful material. It may be a dramatic leap on this columnist’s part, but the past has shown us that artists are the most sensitive members of society. A mere scanning of the history of rock and roll will reinforce this statement. It is immensely rewarding for audience members to experience such an shockingly open singer, but one can well imagine how taxing it can be for the singer to continue down this path trying to temper, yet not dilutting this aspect of themselves that will probably continue to win over future fans.
Claudine Dentoni’s proud display of her humanity on stage was also displayed with her tireless pitching for the charity “Make-A-Wish”. She thanked the organization several times during her performance and raised a significant amount of money that night.
Claudine Dentoni’s brilliant debut as a live artist proved to us once again that we need to celebrate and support artists that are naturally talented and inspirational. Your chance to be in her company will come up once again with her appearance at the Redwood City, California. Her show will also be a benefit for “Toys for Tots”. She is supporting a great cause and one toy will get you in to see her what will no doubt be another astonishing performance by a talent that will proceed to touch all that see her perform!