Posted to Out and About, the Time Out Chicago blog
Chicago model Erin Gipson did a turn on the reality show Beauty and the Geek a couple seasons ago, but her interests run more to singing than high fashion. She teaches voice at the Chicago Center School of music, and has an ethereal little slip of a voice herself. For the past three weeks, she’s presented her bittersweet show “Fever” at Davenport’s, and it just closed last night. The course of true love may never run smooth, but a relationship’s trajectory is clearly embedded in the show, starting high with the first flush of infatuation, running through a series of lovers’ arguments, and ending with a tinge of resignation, and regret.
Gipson’s at her strongest when taking on pop material, like Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down),” and Nina Simone’s “If You Knew.” She seems to channel Jeff Buckley’s well-known version of “If You Knew,” and is so much more relaxed when singing it than with the jazzier songs.
Songs like “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and “Love for Sale” seemed to back her into a corner, and her rhythm never quite settled. She also had a disconcerting habit of resting her hand on her stomach when going after a high note, as if she was practicing a technique instead of performing in front of a crowd. Her between-song patter ran along the lines of, “I hope you like this!” and “These songs mean a lot to me.” It sounds counterintuitive, but a little more time spent polishing the spoken words would have added mightily to to the sung ones.
We shouldn’t be too hard on the girl, though. She and music director/pianist Laura Hoffman chose the songs wisely, with an appealing mix of giddiness and despair, and Gipson’s light voice carries as easily as a breeze. Her band included the steady-as-she-goes bassist Bob Lovecchio and drummer Tyrone Blair, and she was warmly applauded by the happy crowd, who surely identified with the sentiments she gave voice to.