Frontiers Music [Release date: 15.07.22]
For the uninitiated, Greek/Australian blonde bombshell Orianthi Panagaris is a platinum selling, guitar playing rock artist whose songs have registered many millions of hits online.
That’s when she’s not been treading the boards with Michael Jackson, Carlos Santana, Alice Cooper, Carrie Underwood and more recently, Richie Sambora.
She moved to Frontiers from Dave Stewart’s Robo Records for her last release, O, in 2020. Her new solo album on the label is due out later this year.
This live recording maintains her career momentum. It was recorded at the Bourbon Room in Hollywood in January, and expectantly, cherry picks from her 4 studio albums.
As a career best of, it was a wise move. None of her albums have the depth and stamina required for the long run, too often trading the slick and the superficial for rock solid songwriting. And so the live arena allows her to stretch out, to get into the musical dark corners that seem out of reach in the studio.
The last album’s big hitters come across best, all co-written with award winning producer Marti Frederiksen. Especially the songs tailored for today’s short attention spans.
The stomping, ramped up ‘Impulsive’ is a bigger song, done live. It’s tuned to the beating heart of a downhome Stonesy riff, casting off the pop treatment the studio album employed, and it works so much better.
Meantime, the viscerally kinetic ‘Contagious’, which seems to have acquired some dirt under its fingernails since leaving the studio, sends shockwaves rolling through an enthusiastic, receptive audience.
Balancing style and substance is always a challenge for a new kid on the blues block, it’s met head on by the slowed down, fiercely dramatic ‘Sinners Hymn’. Live, Orianthi and band slide into a groove that clearly connects with an appreciative crowd.
There’s an almost nostalgic tinge to the live version of ‘According To You’, a shiny pop diamond that became the artist’s worldwide breakout song in 2009. Performing it live now, 13 years later, Orianthi skillfully keeps the restrained fury of the original in check, transforming it into a passionate cry from the heart, no doubt echoed by women the world over. ***1/2
Review by Brian McGowan
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