Joanne Shaw Taylor – Islington academy 2, London – 22nd September 2014

Joanne Shaw TaylorTonight’s gig by Joanne Shaw Taylor wasn’t an ordinary gig, instead this was a secret show to celebrate the launch of her new album – The Dirty Truth.  Fans weren’t able to buy tickets – they had to win them via Planet Rock, and the location of the gig wasn’t revealed to the winners till the day of the show.

Support for the gig came from Laurence Jones, who performed an acoustic set with just one musician (Roger Inniss) backing him up.  Transport delays meant I only saw part of his set, but what I saw was really good – definitely someone I’d like to hear more from.

Joanne Shaw Taylor took to the stage with a big smile on her face.  It’s a much smaller venue than she normally plays in London (when she plays London next month it’s at Shepherds Bush Empire), so there’s a nice intimate feel to the show.  She doesn’t waste time and gets straight down to the job of playing some great Blues Rock. Tonight’s set is a mix of songs from the new album alongside songs from her earlier albums, which as the album had only been released that day meant that there were still plenty of songs that everyone knew.  As she played she just couldn’t stop smiling – it’s nice to see a musician clearly having a lot of fun performing.
There was a nice mix of songs, from the softer Blues numbers to heavier Blues-rock.  Generally her excellent guitar playing was the star alongside her vocals, but for one or two songs the keyboards were much more prominent and took the spotlight away from the guitar.  Her guitar playing has to be seen and heard – you can see she’s putting so much into it, and the solos she plays are top class, and more than once resulted in spontaneous applause from the crowd.
Several songs from the new album were in tonight’s set – “Tried, tested and true”, “Mud, Honey”, “Wrecking ball” and title track “The dirty truth”.  Of the older songs, there were some great ones including “Jump that train”, “You Should Stay, I Should Go” and “Tied and bound”.

It was a great night.  While I like Joanne’s vocals, it’s her guitar playing that really blows me away – her solos in particular really are impressive, and she’s great to watch too as she puts so much concentration into bringing out the perfect sound from that guitar.  A superb musician and I’m really looking forward to seeing her next time she plays London.

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.