Beth Ditto is much more than the latest gossip

Beth Ditto at the Imperial, 3/28/18

It is so very tempting when one encounters a true talent to search for derivatives. Consumers need a benchmark. They need to compare. So, while it would be easy to compare Beth Ditto, who graced the Imperial stage last night night (March 28), to rock pop pioneers of the recent past…dropping names like Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, Courtney Barnett, or even Perry Farrell just doesn’t do her justice. Ditto, who fronted the alt-rock band Gossip until 2016, is a such a unique artist, that she defies comparisons.

Ditto has garnered a lot of attention for her life offstage, but on this night, a fortunate crowd was reminded why she came to prominence in the first place. Backed by a tight four-piece outfit, Ditto served up some tight blues-punk numbers to the delight of the crowd.

The Imperial is a venue made for grand entrances, and Ditto did not eschew the opportunity. She opened the set with a blistering “Oh My God,” while parading through the delighted crowd. She followed up with a rousing “In and Out,” before beginning the banter that would have members of the audience in hysterics throughout the set. After commenting on a shirt in the crowd that read “Fat Athlete,” ditto quipped “That’s 50 per cent true for me – athlete, that’s the truth!” The comedy continued with tales of peeing on Spanx and baptist Sunday schools in her native Arkansas.

The crowd ate it up, but the banter really was a side dish as the band was tight and easily moved from blues to funk to dance pop to hard rock without missing a beat. Ditto transitioned easily between Gossip numbers and tracks from her debut solo release, Fake Sugar.

The audience was in a frenzy during the encore hit “Fire.” Ditto truly is on Fire and we should expect to be seeing her on a bigger stage the next time she blows into town.