ZZ Ward | Irving Plaza Gig Review | 3.5.13

As the crowd makes its way through the historic venue, up the stairs and down the hall awaits a dimly lit stage, a projector displaying psychedelic imagery shields the road crew hard at work just behind.  The screen drops, and so enters opening act Martin Harley. Kicking things off with a solo acoustic blues-infused stomp, Martin pumped the crowd for what was to be one hell of a night.

Out of a fog of purple haze, ZZ Ward and her faithful fedora gracefully don the stage. Her band follows suit as they get right down to singin’ the blues. On a night where no song was left behind, ZZ rollicked through her debut album, with some added treats thrown in. Her soulful renditions of life experience pour out of each lyric, with a catchy chorus to follow. The crowd transitioned well from the more somber numbers “Criminal” and “Last Love Song” to foot stompers “Put the Gun Down” and “Move Like You Stole It,” when the atmosphere truly came alive. The energy swayed from one fedora to the next, as one and all got down to the beat. Later in the show, ZZ broke into a cover of “Grinnin’ in Your Face” written by blues legend Son House. Demonstrating her deep appreciation for the genre, she delivered a stellar rendition of the track.

With the poise of a seasoned rocker, ZZ Ward pulled out all the stops for an unforgettable night in New York City. From acoustic guitar to keyboard to harmonica, her talent reigned over every last body in attendance. If not a fan before, you surely left with a new name on your mind. ZZ Ward has generated an album that captivates, wise beyond its years, and as polished as they come. In taking it to the road, she has proven her presence in the spotlight, and has solidified her place front and center stage for many years to come.

Shout out to Delta Rae, who put on an incredible show to close the night.

– Don Tice

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