Down in Soho on a typical drizzly Sunday evening in central London, a few hundred hardened blues rock fans crammed into the basement of The Borderline club. They awaited the arrival of one of Britain’s premier talents, Joanne Shaw Taylor. In 2012, Taylor released her third studio album, Almost Always Never, and this gig would be filmed for a follow-up live DVD.
Taylor soon strolled on stage with her band and ignited the crowd with a thumping rendition of “Soul Station.” Soon the masses were stomping their feet and rocking their heads to the funky blues number. Taylor has a wondrous gift for creating the mesmerizing sounds of musical fusion, blending blues, funk, soul and rock. The track “Beautifully Broken” really gave the audience a taste of the soulful vocal tones Taylor can produce.
Being in such a snug setting, the feel of the whole gig was rather intimate, especially when sampling the slower and more emotional melodies of “Almost Always Never.” It was one of those moments where it no longer felt like a show, but more of a spectacle to get totally lost in. Even as the song ended with Taylor plucking the closing melody, the crowd stood silent in awe.
The performance was captivating from start to finish. It was mostly promoting Taylor’s latest material, but a few old favourites like “Diamonds In The Dirt” reminded us of the openhearted and endearing quality her lyrics possess. The set closed with the electrifying tune of “Dead And Gone,” including a blistering guitar solo to see us off into the night.
– George Ward
*Photo by Stephen Fourie