Live Review

Tempest - Sellersville Theater

Tempest on April 16, 2016

Lief Sorbye

I first photographed a Tempest show in 2005 at The Philadelphia Folk Festival. Actually it was two shows. Their music and stage presence for the Saturday night show on the Martin Stage tremendously impressed me. Celtic Rock that down right insisted you get up and dance or at least tap your feet…vigorously. Then came their Sunday afternoon show on the Camp Stage. Dare I say my socks were totally knocked off. They danced around the stage until they danced off the stage and into the audience. Their music is outrageously moving. Audience participation is a must. The band danced, the audience danced, The photographers couldn't dance….had to steady the camera. This kind of audience involvement doesn't happen without the input of really great music that hits the heart and soul.

Well here we are in 2016 and I got to photograph Tempest again, after maybe the fourth or fifth time but this time in a concert venue. Sellersville Theater is a movie house turned into a music venue. So, given the restraints of the theater and the fact that the band has changed members over the years I wondered how the show would be. Well I’ll tell you…I guess I have to seeing as though that is why I’m writing this review. It was absolutely fantastic. The music was as driving as I have ever heard it. Truly great traditional Celtic roots music given a charge that would fire up Madison Square Garden. And, it’s not all Celtic. Lief Sorbye even adds some of his Norwegian roots with a couple of Folk songs from Norway. OK, so I can’t pronounce their names but one was about a woman who made new body parts for her husband.

Even with a number of personnel changes over the years Lief Sorbye, the band leader and founder, holds everything tightly together. Along with Adolfo Lazo, the original and only drummer, they maintain a consistency that the years haven’t dampened. Filling out the band is a fiddler that could hold her own with anyone. Kathy Buys can not only really play but the height difference between her and Lief is something Lief often has fun with. Fun is a big part of their shows. I guess they figure if they have fun so will the audience. Josh Fossgreen on bass and Ab Menon very professionally fill out the band.

So, did they jump off the stage to play in the audience? Yep

If you have a chance to catch Tempest live and you like great, vibrant, moving  music take that chance and make it happen. You will be happy you did.

Mark J. Smith