Beth Hart @ Rock City, Nottingham – Wednesday 13th May 2015


Review by Lulu Davenport, photos by Sean Larkin

Lights fade to black as singer songwriter Beth Hart sashays onto the stage having been greeted to an over excited applauding audience who welcome her with open arms. Taking a seat at a black piano against a backdrop of draped material and fake candles, the venue has taken on a moody ambience. After saying hello to the Rock City crowd no time is wasted as Hart begins to tinkle the ivories to ‘Hiding Under Water’ from the 2005 album Live At Paradiso. The emotionally charged track  showcases her amazingly powerful flawless voice. Part of this song was sung a capella, when the lifting piano melody dropped leaving her vocal raw, stripped bare and full of intensity to stand alone against the silence of an audience in awe. The atmosphere was electric.

Beth Hart
Beth Hart

Lead guitarist Jon Nichols is welcomed onto the stage for ‘Leave The Light On’; a personal song about self harm, confusion and utter despair. The subject matter is heart breakingly honest and utterly powerful, as most of Beth Hart’s songs often are, channelled into either dark hopeless songs or the strong feelings of happiness and love.

There are introductions for the rest of the very talented band; Bob Marinelli on bass, Bill Ransom on drums and P.J. Barth on guitar. With the full back up of the band, Beth dominates the stage, ever changing the run of the nights proceedings as she goes, keeping the fans guessing as to which track she will pull out of her seven album back catalogue.

Beth Hart
Beth Hart

After tracks ‘Waterfalls’ and new addition ‘Tell ‘Em To Hold On’ there’s a dedication for beautiful ballad ‘Mechanical Heart’ to her husband who, she explains, has been her rock over the years. Having lived an eventful life since her early rise to fame she openly admits her past problems with drug abuse and its influence on tracks such as tonight’s ‘Monkey Back’. Despite a traumatic turn of events she remains upbeat and frank about her experiences.

Determined to get her fans to participate in her music she encourages a sing back during ‘Well Well’, and engages them in light hearted banter, telling the crowd ‘We have a curfew tonight but we’re gonna keep playing till they kick us out!!’ I don’t doubt that in the absence of a time limit, she would quite happily have stayed with the crowd till the early hours, with them eager to hear more.

The first song of the encore is ‘Ugliest House’ from the early album Singing For My Supper on which her voice takes on a softer, lighter tone showing a change in her vocals over the years to a more gravelly, mature sound. During the closing track ‘St Theresa’ she drops a guitar pick but rather than stress she just giggles as a runner hands her a new one. Drawing a thoroughly enjoyable evening to a close the band take their bows, signifying the last call on the tour of Europe promoting new album Better Than Home. Those of you unlucky enough to miss the night, Beth Hart herself promised to be back soon.

1. Hiding Under Water
2. Leave The Light On
3. Waterfalls
4. Tell Em To Hold On
5. Mechanical Heart
6. Monkey Back
7. Might As Well Smile
8. Well Well
9. Rather Go Blind
10. Take It Easy On Me
11. Stinky Feet
12. Sister Heroine
13. Mood I’m In

14. Ugliest House
15. She Gives It Away
16. St Theresa

See more of Sean’s photos here