Dorothy Martin waves to the crowd yet says nothing as the band nonchalantly walks onto the stage lit in a low blood-red light. She turns her back to the cheering crowd, stands in front of the drum kit, lights a small batch of sage, and slowly progresses through a spiritual smudging, something I’ve never seen on stage but very fitting as the band plays a sweet and melodic tune reminiscent of something you might hear on an old Doors record. The crowd quiets only briefly as she moves to the mic, peers through the enveloping smoke out into the now ever- building roar of the Bluebird Theater and for a moment soaks in the energy before finally announcing “Welcome to the Freedom Tour!” What happens over the next hour and a half is nothing short of pure rhythm and blues, rock and roll music thunder the way it should be played thanks to the Los Angeles based alt-rock group, Dorothy
When it comes to Martin, think Janis Joplin power and blues, Stevie Nicks stage mysticism and crowd-seducing control and a Linda Perry hard rock fuck you attitude backed by a hard-charging and relentless band to back her. That’s Dorothy. From the opener “White Butterfly” off the soon to be released 28 Days in the Valley, through gritty and heavy stomping “Raise Hell,” “After Midnight,” and the bluesy, emotional rollercoaster of relationship choices, “Pretty When You’re High Boy,” Martin, drummer Jason Ganberg, bassist Eliot Lorango, and guitarists Nick Maybury and Leroy Wulfmeier, bring the crowd to an early frenzy proving that they are indeed the “perfect mix of blues thunder and alt-rock guitar crunch” that Rolling Stone Magazine labeled them as.
Plenty of amazing rock bands have received the same praise that Dorothy has garnered only to fall off the face of the music scene; victims of an ever-changing, fickle industry that swallows talent up and casts them into oblivion on a way too-often basis. And sure you could place Dorothy into a neat little box of just another group fronted by a good looking female rocker, but if Friday night’s show proved anything, it’s that this band can not only hold their own, but that they can carry the rock and roll torch for years to come. The proof lives in moments like Martin showing off her mesmerizing and ever-present confidence singing “This ain’t for the faint of heart” on the hard stomping “Wicked Ones,” delivering a powerful Joplin-esque performance on the blistering ‘60s laden “Who Do You Love,” conquering songs like “Black Tar and Nicotine” and “Ain’t Our Time to Die” with beautiful vocal range breakdowns and belted fire before they all decide to finish off the audience with wild abandon fury on “Down to the Bottom,” “Freedom,” and a blazing rendition of “Whiskey Fever” that sends Martin straight to the stage floor and on her back with seemingly nothing more to give.
If you were there and understand the true need for not just live music, but for gritty, loud, in your face rock and roll, blues, and alternative thunder, it would be hard for me to imagine that you’d not only agree to being a witness to just that, but that were also in the presence of undeniably one of the best bands in music today.