By Holli Harms
Seth Sikes is one of the most prolific contemporary artists of our time. His talent knows no limit. His magnetism and absolute exhilaration reach across whatever space he is performing in and lift everyone to a place where we feel the beauty of life. He is simply put, the warmth and hope of sunshine. His vocal instrument is flawless and unencumbered. He can sing anything and make it his. Watching him perform you can see how the sounds of the words, the whole musical experience, he embodies. His backup band, as he said, usually consists of a small orchestra, but on this night he was backed up by three geniuses that became the full orchestra. It was an intimate night with Sikes, music director and pianist Tedd Firth, Tom Hubbard on bass, and Ray Marchica on drums. The four of them enlightened energy.
Seth’s evening was filled with some timed-tested tunes, “That Old Black Magic”, which was written for Judy Garland by Johnny Mercer. Seth loves Garland! The songs written for her are rich in lyrics and meaning. As Seth said, he loves to sing the songs written for women because they are the best, simple as that.
With “He Touched Me,” music and lyrics by Milton Schafer and Ira Levin, Seth had me really hearing the song, the depth of love, and that moment when falling into it is everything. Seth gave us background on the song which was originally titled “She Touched Me,” and was sung by none other than Elliot Gould in the Broadway musical Drat! The Cat! When he married Barbara Streisand she recorded the song changing the She to He and that was that.
Seth lives to sing about unrequited love because, as he states, let’s face it, it’s much more interesting than requited love. His fantastic rendition of Glen Kelly’s hilarious “I’m Just a Torch Singer” had us all in fits of laughter as the ballad describes a poor singer whose career has died due to a loving caring partner. She wonders where the narcissists and the assholes are when you need them.
It was a night starring Seth and featuring his long-time friend and partner in crime, the genial Nicolas King. The show they do is called The New Belters, but I think of them as The Now Pack. Their back-and-forth high-spirited rapport and musicianship are at their finest together and make you think of that first Pack of extraordinary voices and personalities. Their harmonies, their voices, and their personalities blend perfectly creating one joyous evening. They have the energy of puppies! Let’s get into some good-trouble puppies!
Seth Sikes never miss him.
Seth Sikes and Nicolas King. Never miss them.
54 BELOW, Broadway’s Supper Club, (254 West 54th Street) Cover charges begin at $45. There is a $25 food and beverage minimum. Tickets and information are available at www.54Below.org. Tickets on the day of performance after 4:00pm are only available by calling (646) 476-3551.