By Andrew Poretz …

The phenomenal Storm Large is a performer who lives up to her name in every possible way. She is a huge storm of energy and personality with a spectacular voice. Statuesque and gorgeous, she exudes a high-octane sexuality that is as much seductive as it throws you up against the wall and has its way with you. Storm is raw, powerful, and aggressive, yet willing to be completely vulnerable with her audience like no other performer this reporter has ever seen.

The Massachusetts native is based in Portland. When not performing with her own band, she tours with Pink Martini. She returned to 54 Below this week for three concerts, her first appearance at the venue since her Christmas show in December 2019.

Scott Weddle and Storm Large

Storm, in a long black dress, sporting greenish hair that complemented her tattoos, appeared from the bar area with a wireless mic, tambourine in hand. She worked her way through the crowd to the stage, between and over customers, singing “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).” Forget Doris Day. This was a slow, Joplinesque blues. She added some special lyrics towards the end: “Now I’m in Fifty-Four Below, down in the basement…,” ending with “Will they or won’t they indict?”

The star, quite fit with the physique of her competitive rowing days, was accompanied by pianist and music director James Beaton, bassist Matt Brown, guitarist Scott Weddle, all of whom provided harmonies on several songs, and drummer Greg Eklund.

Storm introduced songs with profanity-laced stream-of-consciousness stories and revelations, that often felt like confessionals. It created a kind of intimacy and bonding with the audience that was moving and transfixing. Some of her “patter” might cause jaws to drop in Iowa but certainly not in New York. “I’m sort of wearing underwear…. it’s glitter.”

The singer, who in pre-Covid days might grab patrons’ drinks and down them, called out to the bar to send up a drink after first asking the band what they wanted. A server appeared with them in short order. The whole business was both unexpected and hilarious.

The star’s rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” stunned in her delivery of pathos, arguably more powerful than Sinead O’Connor’s famous recording.

You will never hear “Hopelessly Devoted to You” the same after Storm’s version of the Grease hit. “I want to take the power back to the character,” she said, asking the audience to imagine Rydell High if it were inhabited by the cast of Carrie, instead. Rather than the passive Sandy of the film, Storm acted it out as a crazed, vengeful domme fantasy of Sandy stalking her man, sitting on him in a bathroom stall, descending into an over-the-top display of maniacal madness. You’ll never think of this song quite the same way again.

Much as she did with “Que Sera, Sera,” Storm and her band reimagined Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” here as an almost churchy R&B tune, utilizing the refrain of “Let it Be” as an outro.

The star brought out her low G tenor ukulele for the last few numbers, starting with Dave Davies’ “Strangers,” and even took over at the drum kit for one.

By far, the evening’s highlight was a Storm Large original, “8 Miles Wide,” an ode to her vagina that had the audience explode with laughter. If the song’s climax was the entire audience singing the “My vagina is!” chorus, the story that followed turned the fully packed room into a shrink’s office.

Storm was estranged from her “far right Goldwater Republican” father, Henry Large, whose views could not be more different than Storm’s. When she learned he was in a coma and dying after an accident, she dropped everything to be at his side. Storm’s poignant, gripping story of being with her father, singing to him and then receiving spooky musical signs from him on her car radio outside the hospital, had her and the audience in tears.

Storm needed a specific sign so she could let him go, which came when The Hollies’ “The Air That I Breathe” played on the radio. Storm ended the set with this song, receiving a sustained standing ovation that garnered an encore, a touching song about death called “Angels in Gas Stations,” which she wrote with James Beaton.

Storm loves her fans, and will spend time with all of them, happily posing for silly photos. Make it your business to see her the next time she appears. To follow her tour schedule, visit her website at Follow her on Instagram @stormof69.

Storm Large: Love, Storm took place on March 19, 21 and 22 at 54 Below, 254 West 54th Street between Eighth Avenue and Broadway (

Photos: Alex Kemelmakher (IG: @Makher2002)