Saturday, June 14, 2014

LIVE FROM NEW YORK: Shareen Debuts at 'The Bitter End'

Shareen @ The Bitter End
Back in February, I first mentioned NYC indie artist Shareen here on the blog on the back of her debut EP release, Light. While I've been a fan since then, Tuesday finally marked my first chance to see her do her thing live and it was well worth the wait.

Tuesday marked Shareen's first "headlining" showcase at a live venue in NYC -- at 'The Bitter End', a cabaret-style bar/nightclub in Greenwich Village (just a few blocks from SoHo). The famed venue is long and skinny and features light brick walls. A small stage is set up against the wall on one side with a smattering of tables across from it just north of the main bar. It holds just over 200 people and is well known to have been a stomping ground for emerging talent (both Lady Gaga and Lana Del Rey played shows there very early in their careers) as well as a chosen place for established talent like Bob Dylan, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Pete Seeger, Donny Hathaway and a ridiculously long list of others.

Shareen's staging included a keyboardist, two live backing singers, two backup dancers, and a backing track. She hit the stage in a black catsuit that had smatterings gold sequins and a burgundy bob haircut with blunt bangs, belting out my original fave from Light, "Don't Let The Credits Roll". I really loved the choreography for this one.

Midway through her set, she called up back to back two unexpected covers. First up was a balladized version of Mandy Moore's debut single "Candy", sultry and seductive and complete with Mandy's growled "Like sugar to my heart, baby" delivery. From 1999 to modern day, the second cover was of Justin Timberlake's "Take Back The Night" and it really got the crowd clapping. The inclusion of these two covers really spoke to my personality -- I knew Shareen and I were kindred hearts in our love for bubblegum pop!

She closed with her original cut "Live Again" before bouncing off stage to change into another outfit for her encore (proper popstar alert!). Her dancers took the stage in jersey tops and cut-off jean shorts, dancing it up to an instrumental cut of Janet Jackson's "Escapade". Shareen returned in similar jean cut-offs, accessorized with a black mesh top and black thigh-high stockings to the tune of her cut "Set The World On Fire (Remix)". She closed with her favorite of her original tunes (and my current favorite as well), "Escape", complete with chair choreography.

Overall, I was really excited and impressed by Shareen's performance. Vocally, she sounded really solid and her choice of covers both showed off her personality and added to her setlist in terms of crowd participation. It also should be noted she was rocking serious choreography alongside her dancers in serious heels and still sounded great. You can definitely keep her on your shortlist of Potential Popstars!

Liking what you hear? You can purchase her Light EP on iTunes now and follow her on Twitter via @ShareenAmour. My many, many thanks to Shareen herself and her manager Shean for the invite. I had a blast!

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