The Rialto Theater was home to the much-anticipated Oct. 9 Time Cat release party for their singles “Victory” and fan favorite, “Boozled.”
Opening for Time Cat was folk-flavored duo Saint Joan. Samantha Grace and Hannelore Berken’s voices combined to create beautiful, otherworldly harmonies. Saint Joan’s performance was a first for me, but I look forward to hearing a lot more from them.
As much as the crowd enjoyed Saint Joan, the packed house was there to see Time Cat, and from the moment they took the stage, the band gave their fans more than their money’s worth.
Lead singer/guitarist Jeri Sapronetti brought every bit of her rock star swagger and serious musical chops, using both to whip the crowd into perpetually frenzied state. Sapronetti exuded confidence and her own brand of badass charisma. Anyone who defines her with references to gender or genre really misses the mark, because Sapronetti’s talent is in a class of its own. She is not an imitation of anyone or anything. She is a true original who is willing to leave every bit of herself on the stage.
Bass player Colten Huffman, who joined the band this year, more than held his own, which was not an easy thing to do standing next to the likes of Sapronetti. He is a musical match for his band mates, but for me, the compelling thing about Huffman was that no matter how cool he tried to play it, he appeared to be having as much fun as we mere musical mortals imagine we would if we played in a rock band to an adoring crowd. He is the Time Cat equivalent of the guy next door – on the coolest street in town.
Sam Caler, Time Cat’s drummer, was, for me, the biggest surprise of the evening. I had seen him perform a few times and there was never a doubt that he was a talented guy, but on the Rialto stage Caler showed great passion and power, as well as a level of showmanship that I didn’t expect. His drum solo, during which Sapronetti and Huffman left the stage, was an impressive high point in the show. His ability to deftly switch between keyboards and drums for their single “Victory” was nothing short of phenomenal.
Midway through their show, Sapronetti invited guitarist Donald Alan and keyboard player Chris Major to the stage for a special performance, covering The Doors’ “Back Door Man.” Free from the restraints of an instrument and confident in the knowledge that she was backed by four world class musicians, Sapronetti sang and moved about the stage in what could be described as excellent performance art. Ever the original, she didn’t give her version of a Jim Morrison vocal, rather she made the song her own.
When the show was over and the lights came up, there was a certain oneness among those of us who were in the audience. Glances between strangers seemed to say, “Together we just experienced an evening we will likely never forget.”
For those of you who were not there, fear not. For Sapronetti, Caler, and Huffman this is just the beginning. All three plan to take their feline magic straight to the top. If you want to experience them in an intimate show, however, don’t wait too long.
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