Home Gigs Gig Review : Joanne Shaw Taylor @ QMU, Glasgow

Gig Review : Joanne Shaw Taylor @ QMU, Glasgow

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Review & Photography by Ritchie Birnie for MPM

When it comes to frontrunners in the Blues today Joanne Shaw Taylor is at the top of the pile and with a new album just around the corner she visits one of her favourite cities and puts on a performance that is flawless.

Opening act tonight is Connor Selby, the young man is sat centre stage and it is just him, his guitar and his take on blues.

His set is more of an intro to the night, more laid back and very personal. I saw him supporting Beth Hart last year with a very similar show and he peddles his wares well. Everything is from his heart and he takes us on his journey. He went down well and I expect to see much more of him in the future.

It has been a fair few years since I last saw Joanne live. It has nothing to do with a falling out with the talented young woman, more that there was always a clash of shows and although my main love is Rock and Metal, Blues has always been in my heart so here I am seven years on from an intimate show in Oran Mor and as the first song “In The Mood” kicks in I wonder why I have left it so long.

That fuzzy guitar and those smoky vocals cannot fail to get into your soul. Follow that up with a cover of Otis Rush’s “Keep on Lovin’ Me” and my night is set already. Taken from her Blues covers album this is Joanne and her band at their very best.

What I love about a JST show is she is very chatty, we get everything that is rolling around her head, her drive, her loves and most importantly in the Blues world, her hates. I need to be careful here as she has been known to have a go at critics and I do not want to get on the wrong side of her that is for sure.

We find out what she got up to during Covid( I suspect it was the same as about 75% of the population…bugger all) but it is good to know what TV shows people watch and obviously if it is red or white wine they drink.

After “All My Love” we get another two covers in “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody” and “Can’t you see what you’re Doing to Me” and this is a band on fire, everyone is firing on all cylinders and we even have the biggest man behind a set of drums and I cannot believe this is wrestler Randy Savage’s son(oooooooooooh yeeeeeeeah).

The whole band look as if they are having a blast and Joanne knows she has surrounded herself with seriously impressive talents and a group of very close friends.

As the show takes off we delve into blonde haired guitar wizards back catalogue with gems like “Dyin’ to Know” and “Wild Love”. She has mixed the set up to get us on our feet and to have us singing our hearts out.

We also go way back to the beginning with “Watch Them Burn” and is there any wonder that this woman shot to stardom? This song personifies the blues and the Jam section is a masterpiece. I think it clocked in somewhere over 11 minutes and not even one second of that did I lose interest, get distracted or even head to the bar. She had us in the palm of her hand and we were hanging on every chord, every second of the solo. There is something very special about a Blues audience. There is hardly a phone in sight, there is just a throng of people who love music deep in appreciation and awe and if this show had been just this song I would have left happy.

This was followed up with one of my favourites in ‘Diamonds in the Dirt” and this this why we are here and why Joanne is so revered. She is a gem in the crown of the Blues.

Another moment that shone was Joanne explaining the meaning behind the song “Runaway”. She laid her heart bare and although the message was obviously very personal she decided to share the pain and in doing so inspire hope, faith and retrospection and thus connecting her audience with her and this song.

After this song I suspect there was not one person here who was not full of admiration, who had not connected on a whole new level with this incredible woman and she proceeded to take us on a new journey to the end of the set.

There is no doubt Joanne Shaw Taylor is extremely talented, she has an exquisite and individual voice and her guitar work stands in no one’s shadow but when you see her live, in the environment she was born to embrace you find a woman who stands above these talents. She is a shinning light and more importantly just a beautiful soul.

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