Another WHIP Music Team Member, Andrew Rodgriguez, also went to the ZZ Ward last month. Here was his take on it:
Rock. Blues. Shady 1970’s bar with people smoking their problems away on a fat cigar. Heartbreak. Storyteller. ZZ Ward performed on Oct 1 at the Theatre of the Living Arts in what was the most riveting show by an upcoming blues singer. And ZZ Ward made it a point to tell her audience that she was into the blues; it’s the type of genre that grabs your ear and forces you to listen to a story. But ZZ Ward didn’t just tell stories, she made you feel them too. Performing a set straight off her debut album Til the Casket Drops, ZZ Ward delivered powerhouse vocals straight from the get-go, jumping from thumping and raw songs like Til the Casket Drops to her more well-known country/hip-hop-inspired song Put the Gun Down. And she does not fail to show her broad spectrum of gritty upbeat songs to the more gut-wrenching ballads such as Last Love Song, which was incredibly reminiscent to that of an Amy Winehouse if she were born in the streets of Alabama. But Pennsylvania-native ZZ Ward wears here hometown proudly on her sleeve, as she praised her hometown Abington as well as Philadelphia as an incredible full of love, and the audience did not fail to respond to her bubbly personality. As her set got deeper into her album cuts, the audience was captivated by such a large voice in a small woman, and as a young and budding audience, this is incredibly promising to a very successful career.
In the grander scheme of things, although her lyricism revolved around boys and relationships, her red streak that sets her apart among the likes of a Taylor Swift is her grit as a vocalist and her ability to diversify her performance per song as being an intimate dialogue between her and the audience to getting up and getting the crowd to sway with her for the more upbeat songs. Despite her being a newcomer and sticking to her arrangements that are the album, ZZ Ward still manages to captivate and sits up with the likes of that of Serena Ryder and Vicci Martinez as a young woman making her mark as a modern blues singer desensitized from a strictly pop frame and incorporating a raw blues tang to her music that your pops might even be a fan of. Also the sporadic F bombs here and there were surprisingly refreshing as a young woman coming from a major record label such as Hollywood Records sometimes bears the label of being commercialized and dolled up for success. With her genre-bending music and electrifying band backing her up, it was a night of success with everyone leaving home happy with a healthy dose of sultry blues-pop.