Review: Abby Jeanne at Turner Hall Ballroom
After the “vicious snowstorm” that plagued Abby Jeanne’s show in January I was a little worried that the rescheduled show might deter fans from coming back out and I was rather happy to be wrong about that. Nearly filling Turner Hall Ballroom to capacity on February 7th, Abby Jeanne’s eclectic crowd was excited to see the Milwaukee native perform. It was a welcome tribute to the now New York City resident to come home to. Nobody treats you better like they do when you come home. Although a somewhat older crowd, once Abby took to the stage everyone lost their minds for the star performer.
As previously mentioned, Milwaukee born Abby Jeanne has been recording music for over 4 years now releasing her first single back in 2016. After completing Backline, the 12-week accelerator program that teaches artists how to manage themselves, Abby moved to Los Angeles and now lives in New York City, but hops around the three cities playing shows.
The 60’s acid rock-inspired singer creates music reminiscent of the golden age of psychedelic rock while mixing in surf rock vibes and a smattering of originality that makes her soulful voice stand out amongst her band. Drawing inspiration from bands such as Jefferson Airplane and Milwaukee’s own The Shag, Abby Jeanne has a welcome place in a world of the synth-heavy singer-songwriters we tend to hear more and more.
Abby also has quite the ensemble cast of band members ranging from 2 guitar players, bassists, backup singers, and tambourine players, drummers, and a horns section that all stand out on their own and rarely feel like an afterthought but always a purposeful addition to the sound that Abby cultivates.
Jumping right out the gate I felt a little underwhelmed with the first few songs. Not that she was lacking in stage presence or energy she was giving to the crowd but I felt that Abby was a little muted. It could’ve been early show jitters or that she just wasn’t singing very loud, but it sounded like her vocals were being swallowed by her band. However, after a couple of songs and a little honey shot that Abby took during one of her song breaks the show really seemed to blossom.
That’s not the biggest takeaway though, I wanted to get it out of the way. Because throughout the rest of the show it was clear that everyone on that stage was having an absolute blast. Each member of their band was jamming with each other, the bassist smiling from ear to ear as the show went on. Overall it seemed like everyone was as excited to be playing at home as the crowd was to hear them.
Abby has this very specific onstage presence that borders professional singers and then she breaks to look at her band and it reminds me of playing music with your friends, just strongly encouraging them to play a little harder because you are feeling the vibe. Every time Abby did this, she really stepped into her own music, spinning and dancing on stage. It added a layer of personality to the show that made it seem like they were enjoying the show just as much as the crowd was.
Throughout the setlist, Abby played some covers from Jefferson Airplane, The Shag, and Siouxsie And The Banshees which she made her own every time. Outside of her covers, there were some new songs that she hadn’t performed before that were welcome additions. One of which I’m hoping she makes her single because it is a cacophony of so many sounds that synced perfectly together. If this is where Abby is going to be taking her music, I am on board!
It’s Abby Jeanne, she’s incredible. Her voice is haunting and her tunes are soulful yet playful at times and somber when they need to be. It’s clear that this is the path she was destined to be on. As she told the audience last night, “I’ll be doing this the rest of my life.” I know this is going to be true and I will see her every time she decides to come back to town. Abby Jeanne is not a show to miss, from her vocals to her stellar band, everything that she will touches has more heart in it than what’d you’d hear coming from other popular artists out there right now.
I was quite disappointed by the sound quality at Turner Hall. I had never attended a concert there before and liked the venue but we were near the back and could barely make out her voice over the band. Very poor acoustics there. I saw her at Susan Komen theatre and intimate setting was great.