Tip o' the Tibbs

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Intrepid intern Lotto Chancellor (we shit you not, that's his name) checked out the Chantelle Tibbs show at El Rio last Tuesday ....

EL RIO, Tuesday, September 4 — Sandwiched between Wee the Band, whose showertime blues covers were tolerable, and Dubious Ranger, whose drummer couldn’t quite seem to find the pocket, was Chantelle Tibbs, another SF transplant from, where else, the East Coast. But don’t worry. She’s from Jersey, not Mass.

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Oh, Chantelle!

This woman straight up has pipes, pipes with enough resonance to fill the El Rio’s carpeted space and draw genuine applause not just from her admirers but also from wayward shuffleboard players, semi-conscious tipplers, et al. After her hour-long set she sold off what demos she had, and took compliments with grace, which is an easy thing to do when you know that people are actually telling you the truth about your performance.

Soulful, rich, and well-divined, Tibbs’ voice supports her seriously playful approach to pitch-bending. She plies at the note from either side, sharpening the expected tone on the first pass, flattening it the second. Her vocal intentionality betrays both a keen ear and a studied technique, creating tension and intrigue. Her lyrics are solid, varied. She even sang a proper cancion en espagnol. Once she works out some complicated rhythms on her guitar, she might just be poised to turn heads.

I left feeling envious of this woman for three reasons, in main. First, I know that even if I were to devote long hours to training my voice as she has, my showertime blues covers would remain hackneyed and overwrought. Second, I came to find that Chantelle has written two volumes about man-raping Electro-Girlpunks set in the year 2026 and totaling, she says, nearly 600 pages. Third, she rocks (can I say rocks?) her own t-shirt line, Wear Me Naked, which you can check out at her site, ChanelleTibbs.com. You must understand that, in all this, she lives my dream.

Chantelle Tibbs proves that some SF transplants still come out here for all the right reasons: to sing songs to whoever will listen, write whatever they want, and wear themselves out while inspiring, and being inspired by, the City. If she keeps up the hard work you’ll be seeing, hearing, maybe even reading more of her.

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