Storm Large rings in the holiday season with song, stories and a punk-rock attitude
Storm Large’s approach to a holiday concert is hardly traditional, and considering her musical resume, that’s really no wonder.
Large’s career as a singer, songwriter, actor and author hasn’t followed a particularly straightforward course. From the varied independent musical projects she spearheaded in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon over the past 20 years, to her appearance as a contestant on the reality show “Rock Star: Supernova” in 2006, to her stint fronting the band Pink Martini in 2011, Large’s musical journey has zigged and zagged. Along with carving out accomplishments as an actress, author and playwright, Large has successfully charted her own course.
She’s been a punk rock queen and a sultry siren; she’s published a memoir and penned a one-woman autobiographical show. She’s appeared on national television and recorded with the likes of Dave Navarro; she’s played Sally Bowles in a Portland production of “Cabaret” and impressed the judges on “America’s Got Talent.”
Large brings that vast artistic experience to Macky Auditorium for “Holiday Ordeal,” a show that reflects all of these different creative facets. Sure, the show celebrates some familiar holiday cues (in the past, she’s put her own spin on standards like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”), but the chanteuse also brings her own spin to what it means to ring in the spirit of the season.
Large’s “Holiday Ordeal” features an ambitious musical catalog. She performed her holiday show virtually during the worst stretches of the COVID-19 pandemic, welcoming guests like Jimmie Herod and Puddles the Clown.
Her return to in-person performances promises to feature heartfelt renditions of songs that one may not necessarily associate with the holiday season. In the past, she’s included covers ranging from the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” to Journey’s rock anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’” to Leonard Cohen’s modern hymn, “Hallelujah.” The musical component of the 2022 showcase reflects this all-embracing approach, one that celebrates songs that offer a sense of joy, celebration and camaraderie.
Beyond the music, however, “Holiday Ordeal” features Large’s longtime talent for captivating a crowd with comedy and theatrics. Large brings her flair for “gags and gifts” to her holiday celebration, summoning the spirit of the young girl who re-enacted Monty Python skits and Mel Brooks routines to help ease the pressures of growing up in a family with its fair share of issues.
As she’s proven in the past, the best way to relieve the stress of the holiday season is through song, laughter and spectacle, and there’s no one more qualified to do that than Storm Large.
Storm Large appears on the Artist Series Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Macky Auditorium. The program includes adult language.