Last night was one of those nights that left me scratching my head. This was not because anything was wrong, necessarily, but it was not what I had expected in the slightest. Went to see 10,000 Maniacs at the always lovely City Winery Napa, but found myself utterly captivated by the opening act, Jenn Grinels.
Upon taking the stage, her presence was a force to be reckoned with. Her big, perhaps slightly tentative smile hinted at what may have been a minor case of “the nerves,” that is, until she got her guitar plugged in and started in on her first song. After that, she was a rock and roll temptress conjuring musical spells that no one could resist.
Whether Grinels was quietly purring into the microphone or seriously belting out a tune, the audience was hanging on every note and lapping up every well crafted phrase. Between each song, she opened up to the audience, telling little stories that were almost as entertaining as the songs themselves. If she did have a case of the nerves before she started, they were definitely gone by the end of the first song.
Jenn Grinels has the rare gift of being a well-rounded performer who engages the audience fully and openly, sharing the performer as much as the performance, being self deprecating while simultaneously strutting her stuff. By the end of her too-short opening performance, she had the audience thoroughly warmed up, something for which 10,000 Maniacs should be grateful. Grinels’ performance was nothing short of amazing.
City Winery Napa at the Historic Napa Valley Opera House is located at 1030 Main Street, right in the middle of downtown Napa. For more information about upcoming shows, click here. To get social with City WInery Napa visit their Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter pages.