Best Of 2003

Best Vocalist (Female): Kim Vrooman

Last Halloween Kim Vrooman and her band Earthsol masqueraded as Led Zeppelin. They didn't just wear costumes. Set up in the cramped confines of Obie's (recently reborn as Griffin's) in Soulard, the band raged through two hours-plus of Zep, nailing each and every guitar wail and vocal mania. This night wasn't about covers; it was about a gutsy rock & roll singer cutting everything loose. Vrooman sang as she always does: with dangerous abandon, jacking phrases like a thief, contorting and reshaping melodies -- and yet never forsaking the tunes, no matter how loud and outrageous her band would get. Kimmy V. is at home with just an acoustic guitar (you can hear her do quieter sets every Tuesday night at the Shanti), but she's a rocker -- there may be more technically precise singers in town, but none cuts through the swells and sways of rock & roll with such instinct and authority. Just don't call her a belter. No, Kim Vrooman lashes like a hurricane.

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