Joss Stone @ The Rainbow, Birmingham – 23rd February 2009

Posted by Bianca on Monday Feb 23, 2009 Under R&B/Soul

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444 Club are known for putting on the best of Birmingham’s bands at The Rainbow, a smallish, nicely scuffed pub/music venue in Digbeth. So when the message started circulating that Joss Stone would be playing there the most common reaction was an entirely understandable ‘What? THE Joss Stone?’

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person in the audience who was there more out of curiosity than anything else. Back in 2003 I’d had my head turned by The Soul Sessions album and her cover of the White Stripes‘ ‘Fell in Love with a Girl’ in particular. Over the following years I lost track of her until catching the fallout from her appearance at the 2007 BRIT Awards.

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The band that took the stage seemed to reflect Stone’s own heritage – on one side some guys you might find in a local Devonshire village pub; on the other a slick Philly soul machine. They could all play and had bags of charisma too – the backing singers had genuine chemistry and great voices – they really shined in their solos. Similarly the sax player (think Bill Bailey in a white suit, white hat and shades) whipped up a storm when let off the leash.

Joss Stone herself took the stage to a rapturous response. Barefoot and dressed in white, she announced that the show would be a mix of the old and the new, this series of intimate shows ostensibly being used to demo new material for her fourth studio album, ‘Colour Me Free’.

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The hits were present and correct in the form of ‘Super Duper Love’ and a barnstorming ‘You Had Me’. New material was scattered about the setlist and provided a few gorgeous highlights which bodes well for the forthcoming album. Although Raphael Saadiq has been onboard as a producer for a while, the new songs sounded even closer to his own style than anything before.

Naturally enough, Stone seems used to performing on a larger stage amongst glamour and glitz. The novelty of seeing this style of performing transplanted to the back room of a pub can’t be disputed but not everything translated. Interminable breakdowns marred the otherwise strong ‘Super Duper Love’ and ‘Fell in Love with a Boy’ and her posh-girl attempts at being ‘street’ did no-one any favours.

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The pretension was punctured a few times by a playful crowd. She must’ve expected a response after telling the men present to take back the initiative when courting a lady. I doubt she was expecting a shout of ‘What are you doing later? Fancy a curry?’ in broad Brummie though. Either way, her fits of giggles showed she wasn’t taking herself too seriously.

After an extended outro which segued into a cover of ‘No Woman No Cry’ Joss Stone took her leave of The Rainbow, skipping off the stage and straight on to the streets of Digbeth. It’s not often you get to see a show like that up close and personal and the crowd appreciated that. Even the merely curious couldn’t have failed to be entertained.

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Review – Chris Unitt
Photos – Steve Gerrard

3 Responses to “Joss Stone @ The Rainbow, Birmingham – 23rd February 2009”

  1. Lucy Says:

    gorgeous pics steve!

  2. Dave Piper Says:

    Good Work! Nice to meet you too!

  3. Dixon Says:

    Nice review guys! Great photos & layout here too… (Subscribed, and will look forward to more of your impressive work)

    Glad that you enjoyed the show.. Definitely sounded like a very good time.

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