It’s a Friday night and I am finding my way through the crowds of a packed German Christmas Market in Birmingham City Centre, no time for great food or Xmas shopping as I’m heading to the Town Hall for one amazing night to see Joanne Shaw Taylor with support from King King. The venue itself was set up for seated stalls and the side and front balcony seats above provided a great view of the stage from all areas, however I find seated stalls a little strange for these occasions as sitting at gigs just isn’t my thing.
King King featuring Alan Nimmo opened up the evening and they have being growing in popularity since winning Best Band in the British Blues Awards for the last two years running. I have seen them a few times at smaller venues but this was my first gig with them on a big stage and wow they didn’t disappoint. The opening track of the night More Than I Can Take is the first track from their second album Standing In The Shadows which had the three quarters full venue fully engaged from the first note.
Alan spoke a few kind words about Joanne’s family being in the audience and how proud they should be of her for gracing the stage tonight in the Midlands before playing their final of the night a great rendition of Old Love and boy did this go down a treat. Alan had the audience in total silence as he was playing without hardly any amplification half way through the song and even joked with them “Can you hear me up there?” before ending with a great solo and the band receiving a standing ovation at the end. I’m sure they and the audience wanted more…….what an opening.
Joanne was born and raised in the Black Country and was discovered at 16 by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, half an hour went by before Joanne and her band graced the stage and like King King I have seen her before a few years back but in much smaller venues.
Joanne looked nervous with her family in the audience.The stage was huge and one could easily get lost out there but WOW no nerves here as from the opening track I was very impressed by how much Joanne moved around and basically owned it. The lighting and sound was great and as I was getting carried away taking photos. The first two opening songs of the night were Soul Station and Tied & Bound.
The next was about a broken relation that has turned into a great friendship Diamonds In The Dirt followed by a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression and this is a personal favourite that Joanne loves to play at every opportunity. Time to slow it down a little with the great Frankie Miller tune Jealousy this was just lovely and King King also cover this on their latest album.
Other songs followed from the recently released live Songs From The Road album which was recorded at the Borderline in May 2013 and if you get the opportunity do go and see Joanne because this Lady of the Blues hasn’t been awarded Best Female Vocalist at the British Blues Awards in 2010 & 2011 for nothing.
A truly superb night of music…..come back soon.
Review and Photography by Andy Hibbs December 2013.