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REVIEW: Jamecia Bennett and the New Tent in Town (Crooners)

Jamecia Bennett headlined the opening of Crooners Supper Club’s new outdoor space on Friday evening.

If you had a brand-new outdoor venue to commission, who would you hire? Do you need a Grammy Award-winning local artist who can sing the blues, sing the soul, and scat through jazz? If so, call Jamecia Bennett – which is precisely what Crooners Lounge and Supper Club in Fridley, MN did to inaugurate its new outdoor space: The Belvedere.

“Outdoor” is a somewhat fluid category, so let’s be more specific. The Belvedere is a tented performance space, offering brilliant sunset views of Moore Lake and comfortable tables and chairs atop the patio flooring. No mosquitos managed to invade the tent for Friday’s inaugural performance; while the heating system wasn’t quite in working order yet, the tent was comfortable for a spring evening. More importantly, the sound system was in fine order, and well-tuned for the genre-blurring concert.

Jamecia took the stage a little after 7 PM with a trio of backup singers and an instrumental ensemble including keyboard, saxophone, electric and bass guitars, and percussion. With the first notes of her soulful rendition of “Summertime”, audience members sat up in their chairs, and a few could be seen laying their hands on their hearts. And Jamecia proceed to hold and carry those hearts in her voice for the rest of the evening.

Most of the evening’s set list consisted of jazz and blues songs, with familiar classics like “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Stormy Monday” swinging hand-in-hand with gospel tunes like “How Far From God”. This was no staid, starched stand-up concert – each musician on-stage moved with a rippling energy, and none more so than Jamecia Bennett. Like a force of nature, she commanded the stage – vocally, with sweeping physical gestures, and an overall riveting stage presence.

When the first set drew to a close, a patron near me turned to her companion. “Wow,” she said. Wow is correct – and when Jamecia again took the stage, the second flew by.

Here’s to many more – at The Belvedere, at Crooners, and with more performers like the riveting Jamecia Bennett.

About The Belvedere

  • 150 table seats.
  • Full dinner and cocktail table service.
  • Industrial-strength heating system.
  • Located next to the Crooners building, adjacent to Moore Lake.
The Belvedere after dark.

Upcoming Concerts at The Belvedere

Online ticketing

  • Joyann Parker in two special encores of “The Music of Patsy Cline” (Thu & Fri Apr 29 and 30, both 7pm); 
  • The New Standards (Sat & Sun May 1 and 2, both at 7pm); 
  • Butch Thompson and The Southside Aces (Sun May 2, 4pm); 
  • Mia Dorr celebrating Linda Ronstadt (Thu May 6, 7pm); 
  • Mick Sterling in “Beautiful Vision,” the songs of Van Morrison (Thu May 13, 7pm); 
  • Indie folk harmony duo Storyhill (Fri May 14 and Sun May 16, both 7pm); 
  • Dan Newton of Daddy Squeeze fame leads a stellar cast of players in “Honky Tonk Jump — the Texas Swing Music of Bob Willis” (Sun May 16 at 4pm),
  • Cabaret queen Marilyn Maye (Thu to Sun May 20 to 23, all 7pm)
  • Jennifer Grimm Sings Judy Garland (Sat May 29, 7pm);
  • Leslie Vincent (Sat Jun 5, 7pm);
  • Martin Zellar (Fri & Sat Jun 18 & 19, both 7pm);
  • Mary Jane Alm, Boyd & Aimee Lee and the brothers Paul and Tim Frantzich (Sun Jun 20, 7pm);
  • Cuban roots ensemble Charanga Tropical (Sat Jul 3, 7pm)
Basil Considine