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Har Mar Superstar - TT The Bears (Cambridge, MA) - Thursday, April 4, 2013

9 April 2013

Harold Martin Tillman (aka Har Mar Superstar) is said to be the fictional twin brother of Sean Tillman, but in reality he’s the alter ego of Tillman, a stage persona who sheds more layers of clothing than a lousy card-playing Victorian lady at a strip poker game, shaking and shimmying the entire time. The schtick is actually a clever one, and well-executed. Tillman and his band is actually highly capable (especially Denver Dalley, whose slinky bass lines really put the oomph into the songs) and as a front man he delivers.

It’s hard to know just how much is tongue in cheek and how much is a big “Fuck You” to the establishment, who waves the magic marketing wand and proclaims people like Usher or Chris Brown as R&B superstars. Here, Tillman plays the role of everyman (albeit one who can sing and dance well), and his balding pate and pudgy, short stature is not an impediment to strutting his stuff and getting it on.

Or off, as it were. As the show progresses, he gradually loses his coat (nice ruffled shirt), then shirt and finally pants until he’s just down to his Y pants, supremely confident in all of his abilities. If seeing a short, chunky, sweaty guy ain’t your thing but tightly done R&B (with clever lyrics) is, you can always hang back in the club and shut your eyes.