Review by Jo Lloyd, photos by Mark Lloyd
In the beautiful surroundings of Birmingham’s Town Hall, local lass Joanne Shaw Taylor wowed an almost sold out crowd bringing Bernie Marsden along for the ride.
Bernie will forever be known as the former guitarist from Whitesnake, but he has a pretty wonderful voice too. With friend Jim Kirkpatrick backing him on guitar and stunning harmonies, we were treated to a plethora of largely acoustic classics from his prestigious back catalogue. Featuring several tracks from his new album Shine including a reworking of Leadbelly’s ‘Lightening’ and ‘Wedding Day’ there was also the odd Whitesnake cover too.
Marsden is not only a super talented guitar player/singer, he is also an incredibly warm host and amazing story teller. Regaling tales of the first time he attended the town hall as a 19 year old to watch Rory Gallagher, and the recording of his album at Abbey Road. We were then treated to the double necked electric guitar for a stellar version of ‘Aint Gonna Cry no More’ before ending on a truly beautiful interpretation of ‘Here I Go Again’ leaving the crowd begging for more.
“Welcome Home” shouts a voice from the crowd as Joanne Shaw Taylor trotted on to the stage. With her global success it’s sometimes difficult to imagine that this girl is only from up the road, but her understated appearance brings her way back down to earth.
Her set was sublime and she very swiftly won over the eager crowd. With much of her new material from recent album The Dirty Truth incorporating the best bits from her previous albums, Joanne is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. With incredible backing from her drummer, keyboard player and bassist, ‘Watch ‘em Burn’ was a particular favourite for me building to an incredible crescendo and her beautiful husky voice on ‘Jealousy’ was magnificent.
Joanne’s set really does have something for everyone and her searing passion sets the stage alight. ‘Diamonds In The Dirt’ is pure soul and works perfectly alongside the more rocky ‘Wrecking Ball’ (not to be confused with a certain Miss Cyrus’ song of course!). Much to the crowds delight, Bernie Marsden made a quick visit back to the stage for a couple of tracks including the Whitesnake classic ‘Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues’ and what almost seemed to be an improvised version of Joanne’s awesome ‘Let It Burn’.
Finishing the night with an encore of ‘The Dirty Truth’, this really was an incredible homecoming for such a talented performer and the crowd’s reaction just goes to show that modern day blues has well and truly earned a secure place in today’s music scene.