Gig Review by Zak Edwards with Photography by Bianca Barrett

Joanne Shaw Taylor

It was the salubrious surround of Birmingham’s Town Hall that greeted us, surrounded by wood clad stands full of German goods and yummy Bavarian food on the cold Autumnal Friday in Brum for Joanne Shaw Taylor’s home coming gig.

Joanne Shaw Taylor

On entering the venue it instantly becomes apparent how steeped in local History the Town Hall is – pictures of heroes like Sabbath and politicians like the controversial Oswald Mosley adorning the walls in a pictorial run through of the last 150 years.

The splendour of the place continues into the actual Hall with its monumental ornate Organ and decorative ceiling, the perfect setting for such a talented artist.

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Spending too long at the German Market consuming all manner of yummy waffle and sausage type products meant that unfortunately we missed the support act KingKing, but judging by the murmurings of the crowd, many of whom were long haired Blues officianodos was that the title of Best British Blues band of 2012 and 2013 is well merited.

Performing in front of her Nan “which always makes her nervous” JST made her way to the stage as part of the tour to coincide with her new album Songs from the Road – a live album recorded at the Borderline in London on May 12th. Recording the album live, the pressure was on. One night, one shot and having listened to the CD intently over the last few days she nailed it!

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Visually she’s not what you’d expect. Pretty, demure and very ladylike with her golden flowing locks, pretty much the exact opposite of you archetypal blues guitarist.

From the minute she picked up her guitar and plucked her first string, looks mattered not a jot and you can see why she’s held in such high regard. Hailed as the first lady of British blues she’s come a long way from the tentative 15 year old teenager as she was stirring up a storm at the Robin in Birmingham many moons ago.

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Immediately launching into a riff laden intro which demonstrated all of her guitar playing skills the blues-rock virtuoso simply oozed class. Vocally comparisons can be drawn with Josh Stone and whilst not as strong as the female singer, she more than makes up this with her amazing guitar skills. Mesmerising is one descriptive word of many that can be used as her and her tool of choice – be it a Fender or a Gibson, become as one, entwined with one another to make magical music.

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Personal favourites from the set include ‘Going Home’ and the haunting ‘Jealousy’ both splendidly performed, whilst heart paid tributes were paid to her Mom who sadly passed away this year and her own rendition of Henderix’s Manic Depression.

If music is your ‘thang’ and appreciate its technical application, then you really need to keep em peeled for Shaw Taylor, you’ll not be disappointed!

One Response to “Joanne Shaw Taylor at The Town Hall, Birmingham, UK – 29th November 2013”

  1. Graham Jones Says:

    You certainly did miss out by not seeing KingKing, they were superb. I agree with most of the above however myself and my brother thought Joanne’s’ vocals to be inaudible at times, to the point where we had no idea what the songs were about. I know the Town Hall acoustics are not that great, but we had no problems with the support act. Took the edge off somewhat

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