Live: Joanne Shaw Taylor @ Jazz Café.

Joanne Shaw Taylor @ Jazz Café, Camden, London

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London's Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London’s Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

When there’s a queue outside the venue a full 30 minutes before doors opening, you know there’s something good going on.  Such was the cache of expectation for Joanne Shaw Taylor’s second night at the Jazz Café, the last date on her current UK tour promoting her most recent album The Dirty Truth.  Places near the front were going to be hard to come by, and sure enough, within minutes there was a healthy wall of bodies at stage front which over the next hour swelled to a packed and pretty warm full house.

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London's Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London’s Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

The evening was kicked off by the really excellent Federal Charm from Manchester before the stage crew got things ready for the main act, including, unusually for a live music event, two rather attractive carpet rugs!  One thing that strikes you is the amount of space on stage, the reason for which becomes clear as soon as JST arrives.  In her world, guitar solos are best played whilst moving around!

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London's Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London’s Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

The set starts with the urgent choppy riff of Mud, Honey which lulls you into a false sense of security with a quiet middle eight, before exploding into action for the first of the evenings crunching and expressive solos.  With its dirty grubby backline we hear Outlaw Angel and the more funky rhythm of Wrecking Ball each with its own “walkabout solo”.  There’s great support from Oliver Perry on drums and Tom Godlington on bass, but the width of the stage belongs to JST which she clearly enjoys if the smile on her face is anything to go by.

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London's Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London’s Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

By far the best song of the evening is her new supercharged version of Diamonds In The Dirt.  On the album this is a laid back and chilled number, but live, this slow start is transformed by a click of the effects pedal into a full Led Zep-esque solo, with a variety of notes that I didn’t think it was possible to get out of a Les Paul, and its definitely the crowd goes wild moment of the evening.

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London's Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London’s Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

Recognising the relentless pace of the first 45 minutes, JST announces “I’ve got rid of the boys so we can be alone” which brings us to a nice acoustic break (which the band set up themselves) complete with low budget chairs and a box for percussion.  The emotional Almost Always Never is a lovely dedication to her Mum, and Army of One brings the boys back on for a song that feels quite “street busker” in its character.

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London's Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London’s Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

Its back to the power riffs and faster pace of the second half with a mix of older and newer tracks, each accompanied with its own superlative solo.  However, and herein lies my slight disappointment with the evening, I did feel that the format of each song became a little formulaic in this second half.  It may have been just my own expectations, but having been a fan of JSTs recorded material for a few years, I was looking forward to a slightly greater variety its musical landscape and interpretation than I got.  But maybe I’m just being picky and self-interested.  Ultimately we all stood there in awe of her superlative playing, and JST definitely still holds the crown at the head of British blues.  As the lady next to me at the front said, “she’s only 29 but she feels like a proper blues institution”.  I definitely can’t argue with that.

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London's Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

Crunching blues with feeling from Joanne Shaw Taylor at London’s Jazz Cafe (Andy Sampson)

Photography & Review by Andy Sampson. Joanne Shaw Taylor Jazz Café, Camden, London. Tuesday 27th October 2015.

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Andy has his own great website right here: www.soundritualphotos.co.uk

 

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