Somewhere between Sean Tillman’s on-stage, mid-song headstand and his shirtless, bartop heartbreak ballad, one might have been overcome by the trademark unpredictability of the longtime performer’s stage act.
Har Mar Superstar grabbed the audience with unwavering confidence from the start, taking the stage after an intense and impressive opening set by Sweet Spirit and by Lincoln’s Powerful Science. Tillman is known for his eccentric performances, but also his soulful lyrics, throwback R&B sound and great voice, firing on all cylinders last night. He’s currently touring on behalf of his latest album, “Best Summer Ever,” produced by The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas.
A musical veteran with experience in Hollywood (“Starsky & Hutch” and “Pitch Perfect”), Tillman knows how to work a crowd with smooth dance moves, some parts which were choreographed with his robust six-piece band, which includes Desaparecidos’ guitarist Denver Dalley and Mystic Valley Band bassist Macy Taylor. Dalley and Har Mar are best friends and have known each other since Har Mar’s days as a concert booker in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in the late ‘90s.
But Har Mar wasn’t selfish, sharing the spotlight amongst many throughout the show, singing a duet with Sweet Spirit’s Sabrina Ellis on “Youth Without Love”. Other highlights included Har Mar’s quick, on-stage outfit changes. Before he removed his shirt 40 minutes into the show, he showed off a Mexican poncho and then an African mumu. He belted out “How Did I Get Through The Day” while sitting on the bar before washing it down with a shot. Afterward, he proceeded to point out an old friend in the audience, Tom Gemelke, whom he hadn’t seen since elementary school in Marshall, Minnesota, when he moved away. He told a story about how and Gemelke and him were watching The Jerk together when they were six years old, before Tom’s parents noticed it wasn’t for children and turned it off. The story was a nice touch, and it was cool to see the two friends reconnect after so many years.
Har Mar Superstar was entertaining in more ways than one. He might have a reputation as a funny, eccentric performer, but Tillman proved that he’s also a gifted singer, songwriter and, with more than 15 years of performing experience, knows how to keep a crowd’s attention.
View photos from last night’s show below:
Har Mar Superstar