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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Revenge of the First-Rate Lounge Act: Ronnie Giles

Ronnie Giles' "Revenge of the Third-rate Lounge Act" was a breezy afternoon treat that swept through a packed house at Don't Tell Mama with plenty of aplomb and no shortage of charm.

Ron's nonchalance and his smooth vocals made this a thorough Saturday afternoon delight. Bistro Awards founder, Sherry Eaker, was there as was Bistro Committee member and Edge NY's cabaret critic, Kevin Scott Hall. I was seated with Kevin and my friend, dance-diva Karin Nagi, here to address the United Nations as head of the organization, Voices for Children & Animals. We were entertained enormously by Ron's show.

Ron's quintessential showmanship and suave, classic crooner of a voice (that did not hit a false note throughout the performance) led us through standards like "On the Street Where You Live," "The Girl from Ipanema" and "I Get a Kick Out of You."

There is an endearingly '60s lounge-act quality indeed to Ron's schtick and he knows it. This show's title is Ron's response to a supercilious (and just super-silly) cabaret critic who used the term "third-rate lounge singer" to crudely dismiss Ron's act.

Ron did one of his Sinatra numbers ("The Tender Trap") and a tribute to Gerry Goffin ("Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?") before ending with "Witchcraft." He came back to the stage to sing "I Wish You Love," his encore.

Darryl Kojak, musical director and on piano, was outstanding, as always. The easy banter between Giles and Kojak made us laugh and added to the free-wheeling quality of the show.

Ron doesn't offer up snob appeal. Ron offers us a return to a simpler form of cabaret -- very focused on sheer entertaining. If there is a theme to Ron's show, it's to enjoy the nostalgic simplicity often missing from our current fare. I would love to hear Ron tackle a contemporary pop song with '60s stylings, a'la The Puppini Sisters.

Lounge singer? Yes! Why, I don't think it's a bad word at all! I love it. I think Ron Giles does, too. And I recommend you do NOT miss this first-rate lounge singer when he returns!
With Ron Giles at the Bistro Awards 2012