I attended Lea DeLaria’s David Bowie tribute show at Birdland Jazz Club, last Saturday. Based on her fifth non-comedy album, DeLaria House of David: delaria + bowie = jazz, 12 covers of the icon’s greatest hits, DeLaria’s vocals were accomplished, warm, and in a class of their own. Best known for her role as Boo on “Orange Is the New Black”, her guest that night was the vocally powerful Danielle Brooks. In the audience the “Orange Is the New Black”, cast member cheered her along, as well as some of their crew and producers, who later joined DeLaria on stage.
DeLaria has been a staple on the queer scene for decades and her comedy leans more towards the crass, but her audience eats it up. DeLaria the night I attended was sick as she drank tea and blew her nose, but like a trooper forge on. There was actually more talking than singing, or so it seemed. Starting off with Bowie’s “Boys Keep Swinging”, sung with a bit of camp in the mix adding a sexuality to a new gender. If I hadn’t of known the song “Fame” and known this was a Bowie show I would not have recognized the song. Though the melodies of Bowie get distorted, the lyrics take center stage.
DeLaria’s jazz sensibility on “Ground Control to Major Tom” to “Space Oddity” took on a out of this world presence.
dded to the mix was Muddy Water’s “I live the life I love”, which DeLaria uses as a theme song to her life.
“Sunday Kind of Love” sung by Danielle Brooks was a powerhouse and became more like a “Saturday Night Kind of Love”.
Lea and Danielle who have chemistry got together on”Hallelujah I love her So”, which was under rehearsed.
My favorite of the night was the funky “Let’s Dance”, a swinging scat.
DeLaria’s musicians – including Jeremy Siskind (music director), Dylan Shamat (bass), Alex Goodman (guitar), Roxy Coss (saxophone), and Arron Kimmel (drums) are first rate. I must give a shout out to the rad sax solo’s by Roxy Coss.