Dorothy w/the Georgia Flood | 02.16.17

It was as if Martin was channeling Janis Joplin as she filled her performance with an amazing amount of emotional realness and incredible vulnerability.

The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill, St. Louis

I am not sure if the band Dorothy is normal case or uppercase like DOROTHY. I have seen it both ways, and I think I like the uppercase better, but for the sake of blowing out your eyeballs, I will use the former. Now that this issue is resolved, I can tell you all about the mind-blowing, amazing, fantastic, orgasmic concert the band put on in the cozy venue known as the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill.

But first, I must address the performance by opening band, the Georgia Flood. Normally, opening bands are just like a side of boneless hot wings: something to tide you over until the main course comes. But this night, I was treated to not one, but two main courses. When I first checked out their latest album, People like Ourselves, I pictured the band to be hippie hipsters. Menthol smooth vocals and laid back vocals make up most of their songs, giving you good vibes and a reason to chill.

When four (relatively) clean cut millennials took the stage, I thought they were the roadies. But when Brooks Mason tore into “The Race” and this soulful, mature voice came out it made me do my best “What’chu talkin’ about, Willis?” side glance. I was not at all expecting that kind of voice to come out of this kind of young man.

The vibe of the band is 100% deep groove with a bit of pop sensibility. It’s as if Weezer hung out with Stevie Ray Vaughn and they invited Augustana over for an “enlightened” jam session.

As the band tore through several tasty tracks like “Sleepless Nights,” Better Not Together,” and the eerie but hypnotic “I’m Dying,” two other songs stood out as highlights of the night. “Jailhouse” showcased the band’s ability to dig deep emotionally and just let it all hang out during a delightful, yet intense impromptu jam session. Equally impressive was the upbeat “Whistle King.” Obviously the most radio-friendly out of the set, this track gave the St. Louis crowd something to which they could shake their collective asses. Throw in a very heartfelt version of Alabama Shakes’ “Hold on” and the Georgia Flood made St. Louis swoon with love for the band.

The Georgia Flood’s set was tight, completely genuine, and memorable. This is how you open for another band while making a name for yourself. I, for one, cannot wait for these young lads to come back and kick my ass all over again.

While the ample crowd waited for Dorothy to take the stage, I surveyed the audience. “What kind of fans does the L.A.-based band appeal to?” I asked myself. While this was an all-ages show, the millennial set made an appearance, but then there were several butch lesbians in the crowd, as well. Throw in a handful of Gen X single guys standing around drinking Stag beer and some rocking soccer moms, it was a mixed bag of representatives. I think the authentic, soulful musicality of Dorothy appeals to people who just love good music: a true testament to the band’s vibe.

Kicking off their set with the high-energy “Kiss It” from their latest album, ROCKISDEAD, Dorothy Martin—the band’s namesake—stormed the stage in a simple black outfit and a full-length fur coat. Stunning to look at but more enjoyable to hear, Martin is quite the enigma to behold.

The stage presence Marin possesses is remarkable. She is one of those performers who makes you a believer the first time you hear her bluesy, hard-rocking, authentic vocals. It wasn’t until two or three song into their set that I noticed the lack of a spotlight on her; Martin just lights up the stage with her energetic and bubbly personality.

Her vocals were in peak form as the band tore through some of the best tracks, on the album such as “Dark Nights,” “Wicked Ones,” and my personal favorite, “Gun in my Hand.” I was worried Dorothy may have peaked early by playing “Gun” so early in the set, but I needed not to have worried, as Martin & Co. had things well in hand.

When the frontwoman interacted with the crowd, I marveled at her charisma as she regaled us with stories about her experiences in St. Louis and her love for vinyl. Her affection for the audience was authenticated when she praised the underage fans for coming to the show.

It was during the soulful performance of “Woman” that I realized how the mic seemed to be holding Martin back. Her voice is so powerful, she would have been better off to throw down the mic and just sing. It was as if Martin was channeling Janis Joplin as she filled her performance with an amazing amount of emotional realness and incredible vulnerability.

While the band is named after Martin, it truly is a group effort. Drummer Dylan Howard, bassist Gregg Cash, and guitarist DJ Black not only kept up with the vivacious singer, they showcased their brilliant musical ability during a jam session that made me pay attention.

When Martin launched into her version of Jay Hawkins’ legendary “I Put a Spell on You,” the singer did just that. Normally I am busy scribbling down notes during each song, but her vocals were so spellbinding that I was frozen in place. I couldn’t take my eyes off the singer as she paid homage to the track while making it her own with her affectionate vocals.

Wrapping up their set with more monster performances of “Shelter” and “Whiskey Fever,” Dorothy gave St. Louis one hell of a rocking set filled with larger than life performances and an incredible amount of energy. As they left the crowd chanting for more, I could only wonder when Dorothy will come back to town, hopefully to a much bigger venue. Fingers crossed for their 2018 tour making a stop at Busch Stadium. | Jim Ryan

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