Live Review: Imelda May @ the Roundhouse.

Imelda May at the Roundhouse in London on 17 March 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Imelda May at the Roundhouse in London on 17 March 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

The Roundhouse in north London proved its astute scheduling skills by hosting Irish rockabilly singer Imelda May for St. Patrick’s Day. Backed by her full band, a gaffiti-strewn brick wall backdrop, a motorcycle to the side of the stage and a glowing neon clover sign to remind us of the date, Imelda put on an impressive show.

Imelda May at the Roundhouse in London on 17 March 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Imelda May at the Roundhouse in London on 17 March 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Earlier favourites such as ‘Love Tattoo’ and ‘Big Bad Handsome Man’ were given an airing in the first few songs. With a new album called ‘Tribal’ due out later this year, there were also some lesser known – but still well received – numbers such as ‘The Hellfire Club’ which, she told us, was written with encouragement from her brother. The recent single ‘It’s Good To Be Alive’ saw Imelda encouraging the crowd to repeat and sing back made up phrases, which they happily did.

Imelda May at the Roundhouse in London on 17 March 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Imelda May at the Roundhouse in London on 17 March 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Imelda’s down to earth chat between songs was funny and endearing. When someone called out “I love you Imelda!” between songs, she laughed and recounted how, when she first started hearing this same declaration of love shouted out from a crowd during a show, she’d reacted indignantly by saying “But you don’t even know me!”.

Imelda May at the Roundhouse in London on 17 March 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Imelda May at the Roundhouse in London on 17 March 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Special guest John Sheahan, the violinist from The Dubliners, joined Imelda for the slow and soulful ‘Kentish Town Waltz’ from the ‘Mayhem’ album. An appropriate choice given the venue’s close proximity to the location of the title. John stayed for a rendition of ‘Marino Waltz’, an instrumental he wrote for The Dubliners and which Imelda dutifully waltzed to with a member of her stage crew.

Imelda May at the Roundhouse in London on 17 March 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

Imelda May at the Roundhouse in London on 17 March 2014 (Imelda Michalczyk)

The buoyant atmosphere may have been given an extra swing by the indulgences of a celebratory and traditionally sober-free saint’s day, but Imelda’s strong performance surely gets most of the credit.

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Review by Imelda Michalczyk on 17 March 2014, London. Imelda is a great journalist and photographer and has her own website here: www.rebeladelica.com

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