CAMBRIDGE — As I walked into the Plough and Stars about a month ago I felt slightly ill at ease. The cover was $7, and the space was packed. With little room to move, I worked my way to the front to meet singer Andrea Gillis.
Gillis immediately raised my confidence in the place and in the evening. She firmly shook my hand and apologized ahead of time for her cold and (therefore) “bad performance.”
I got my gin and tonic and waited for the set. There was barely any room to stand. Suddenly, the band started with the first song “Used Up” from her recent album Want Another?
So far, so good.
Gillis’s voice had a raspier sound to it because of her cold, but it seemed to work in her favor. Despite of her bad spirits and physical illness, Gillis lead a stunning performance. She rocked. The band rocked. The little house they played at was rocked. People hollered with excitement at each song.
The songs were filled with soul and her voice with power. Gillis’ sound is a mix between soul, blues and garage rock. You wouldn’t know the singer was feeling under the weather the way her voice carried through the air. I couldn’t believe how powerful she sounded.
With bassist Michelle Paulhus, guitarists Melissa Gibbs and Charles Hansen along with drummer, Bruce Caporal, Gillis’ band introduces new popularity to the co-gendered band. The throng of fans that was previously growing restless in the crowded space was now dancing and singing. One drunken guest was even shouting with the upbeat songs and swaying his lighter until realizing he was indoors.
Everyone seemed to have fun. We were really dancing our hearts out during one of her Tina Turner covers as well as her original hard-rocking songs like “Gin and Tonic.”
Andrea Gillis has been performing for 10 years and is due to release a new record soon. She opened for J. Geils and was the first band to play at the House of Blues in Boston.