Toward the end of her first set at the Cellar Door last night, Marshall Chapman decided to take things easy. After introducing the members of her band, she laid out her lanky frame on the stage floor. As her bassist pounded out a solo. Chapman propped her head in one hand and reached for a beer with the other. Considering what she had been through, she deserved a rest. For close to an hour, the six-foot blonde guitarist assaulted her audience with her powerful brand of rock.
For too long now, Chapman has been written off as a kind of male impersonator in rock. She still favors far too many of Mick Jagger's pouts and spasms, but her influences are clearly rooted deeper than British rock.
On Elvis' "Too Much" and her own "Rock and Roll Clothes," Chapman traded some inspired '50s licks with lead guitarist Mike Dospapos; with "Road Hard and Put Up Wet" she bridged he country influence with her passion for punk, and "Don't Make Me Pregnant (I Only Want to Dance)" -- "dedicated to those who reached puberty in the pre-pill era" -- was about as good a response to Jagger's "Satisfaction" as any female rocker has to offer.
Marshall Chapman appears again tomorrow at the Cellar Door.