- Chantal Claret
- October 18 & 25, November 1, 8, 16, 24 & 30; 10:30 p.m.; free.
- Vinyl, 693-5000.
Things are heating up inside Vinyl, and some of the credit has to go to the new Hard Rock Hotel music room’s first resident act, Chantal Claret. The 30-year-old singer is partway through her two-month commitment, with free shows scheduled the next four Thursdays—October 18 and 25 and November 1 and 8—before she wraps up with three weekend performances toward the end of November (16, 24 and 30).
For her visit, Claret has exchanged a portion of the indie-rock edge associated with her previous act, New York City band Morningwood, for a solid brass section topped with choreographed soul-sisters carrying the harmonies. The night I attended, the all-ages crowd’s footwear ranged from sneakers to stilettos, with a slew of high-school attendees front and center. Tables sat mostly vacant on either side of the stage, but elbow room on the dancefloor was a hot commodity.
Claret’s husband, Jimmy Urine (frontman for Mindless Self Indulgence), played the role of hype man, stopping the set mid-stride to reintroduce his wife, James-Brown-style. The band’s upbeat rhythm, blaring horns and grooving bass, combined with Claret’s feisty demeanor, make for a good time, while her songs reaffirm timeless themes of soul music: backstabbing, breaking chains of love, time as money, etc. It’s an entertaining night on the town, especially if you come ready to dance.
The show really hit its stride when Chantal returned to her empowered-punk vixen wheelhouse with a cover of Thee Headcoatees’ “Davy Crockett.” Claret excels at the loose, intentionally imperfect delivery originally conceived for the song by lead Headcoatee Holly Golightly, and Claret bantered with the crowd and encouraged sing-alongs despite the presence of one particularly rowdy fan. “I’m a very nice lady if you’re not a piece of sh*t,” she said. “So let me continue.”