Joanne Shaw Taylor is suffering from a cold. But, other than her drinking hot water and honey (not gin, she promises) between songs and an added hint of huskiness to her voice, you wouldn’t know. The singer and guitarist is all energy and smiles as she (sometimes quite literally) bounds through a set that stretches all the way from her 2009 debut White Sugar to last year’s Wild.

Joanne Shaw Taylor (Edyta Krzesak)

Joanne Shaw Taylor (Edyta Krzesak)

Three songs from the current release (the swinging Dyin’ To Know, aptly titled all-out rocker Nothing To Lose, and the touching No Reason To Stay) kick off the show, before she leads her slick three-piece band through two tracks off 2010’s Diamonds In The Dirt.

Luigi Casanova (Edyta Krzesak)

Luigi Casanova (Edyta Krzesak)

Jump That Train stands out for a technically brilliant, yet heartfelt, solo that she throws her entire body into, while the soul-packing title track is a masterclass in subtlety and restraint. Tried Tested And True sustains the mood before blossoming into a gorgeous melodic guitar solo, while Bones from her first LP makes very effective use of contrasts in volume and intensity, building up to a full-throated finale.

Joanne Shaw Taylor (Edyta Krzesak)

Joanne Shaw Taylor (Edyta Krzesak)

The slow-burning Time Has Come, from the same album, pushes that dynamic even further with its glorious organ solo from her new (and former King King) keyboard player Bob Fridzema setting up Shaw Taylor for an epic Hendrix-infused solo that just builds and builds and builds.

Joanne Shaw Taylor (Edyta Krzesak)

The punchy Time Has Come gets right down to business, while the haunting rendition of Wild Is The Wind (also covered by the Thin White Duke on 1976’s Station To Station) is a loving tribute to David Bowie.

Joanne Shaw Taylor (Edyta Krzesak)

Down ‘n’ dirty boogie Watch ‘Em Burn is the perfect excuse for drummer Oliver Perry and bass player Luigi Casanova to get their swing on while Shaw Taylor lays down the night’s most fiery guitar solo.

Joanne Shaw Taylor (Edyta Krzesak)

All four musicians stretch their legs once more on 2012’s Tied & Bound, which closes the main set with a big ol’ instrumental jam session that once again has her wandering the stage, checking in with each band member, as she plays one blistering run of notes after another.    

Joanne Shaw Taylor (Edyta Krzesak)

The aptly named Going Home is her goodnight song and the slice of bluesy rock, with another incendiary solo, provides the perfect end to a night of music as smooth as the hot water and honey she’s been sipping.

Joanne Shaw Taylor band (Edyta Krzesak)

Joanne Shaw Taylor band (Edyta Krzesak)

Live review of Joanne Shaw Taylor at Royal Festival Hall on 15th November 2017 by Nils van der Linden. Photography by Edyta K.