Review: Joanne Shaw Taylor – The Tunnels, 7/10
IF your musical tastes extended to hard rocking blues with incendiary guitar solos, spine trembling bass lines, pounding drums and swirling organ then you wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere but at this gig.
For Joanne Shaw Taylor and her band provided all these things and a great deal more.
Opening act Tristan Mackay has had a single topping one of the blues charts but his first few songs were actually very folky.
Then he swapped his acoustic guitar for an electric one and things got decidedly bluesy with admirably gimmick-free versions of songs by Eric Clapton and BB King mixed amongst his own songs of which A Million Little Things was a real standout.
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He also achieved a remarkable feat, getting a rock audience to enthusiastically sing along as if they were at a folk club.
Aided by an extremely tight trio Joanne Shaw Taylor stormed through her set, the blonde 20-something from somewhere near Birmingham barely giving us time to catch our breath between songs and only rarely speaking.
Her phenomenal guitar solos were long, muscular and at blistering speed and her voice, not unlike Tina Turner’s, roared with gutsy power especially on older songs like Jump That Train and a ferocious but not completely convincing version of Hendrix’s Manic Depression.
Someone near me neatly summed up the guitar solo in her re-working of Frankie Miller’s emotion- wracked Jealousy with the simple statement “wow!”
One of her older songs, Diamonds In The Dirt, had a distinct soul-like quality which was even more evident in some of the songs from her much acclaimed new album especially the title track Almost Always Never.
In the case of Beautifully Broken and Lose Myself To Loving You there’s also a newfound subtlety.
The ridiculously talented Joanna Shaw Taylor never fails to impress but there wasn’t a lot of variety in her live performance. What was missing was the killer song, the one whose melody is so strong that you came away with it still going around your head. Indeed, even straight after the gig it was actually difficult to remember any tune she played let alone hum it.