Katey Sagal always seems to play the mother – on “Married … With Children, “ Sons of Anarchy” and on her new concert tour.
She is the den mother of sorts for her four-city tour, which played Minneapolis Saturday at Mill City Nights. The tour is a way for her to work on her semi-dormant music career and reach out to “Sons of Anarchy” fans at the same time.
The best part of the intriguing, nicely paced two-hour program was the Q&A featuring Sagal and “SOA” actors Theo Rossi (Juice) and Mark Boone Junior (Bobby Elvis). Emcee Chris Hawkey, a KFAN-AM personality, asked some questions and then it was open mike for audience members.
Fans asked everything from whether Sagal smokes weed (no, but her character on the show does) to do the actors know if their characters will die during the season (no).
One woman said she would accept Rossi’s marriage proposal. Sagal explained she got fired as a background singer for Bob Dylan because she rejected some kind of unnamed but implied proposition. Inquiring minds don’t need details.
Sagal’s singing was the focal point of the evening. Although she released solo albums in 1994 and 2004, she was a backup singer in the 1970s and ‘80s, working with Etta James, Bette Midler, Tanya Tucker (“the Glen Campbell years”) and Dylan (she tagged along when a girlfriend was asked to come to rehearsal and got invited to join the choir but was eventually fired before the tour started).
As a frontwoman Saturday, Sagal showed an attractive, rangy voice. But she performed like a backup singer: Never really seizing the vocal spotlight when it was time for her voice to soar, seldom holding her mouth close enough to the microphone and not knowing how to move and what to do with her hands (brushing back her long hair, pulling at her short dress, placing them on her hips).
Backed by a solid band (including Elvis Costello bassist Davy Faragher and “Sons of Anarchy” music supervisor Bob Thiele Jr.), Sagal, 59, did a distinctive Southern soul/gospel reading of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” and she really got inside Laura Nyro’s “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle.”
But Sagal’s shortcomings became apparent when veteran R&B-turned-jazz vocalist Curtis Stigers took the stage to sing the “SOA” theme song, “This Life,” the blues growler “John the Revelator” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s celebrative “Travelin’ Band.” He showed how to truly command a stage.
Nonetheless, Sagal seemed so unpretentious (she even unsuccessfully tried to use her cellphone to broadcast a live conversation with her husband, “SOA” creator Kurt Sutter), open and likable that it’s hard to complain about that special evening with the “Sons of Anarchy” mother and her family.