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Thursday 20 October 2016

A View From The Back Of The Room: Joanne Shaw Taylor (Live Review By Paul)

Joanne Shaw Taylor, The Globe, Cardiff

She’s a bit of a blues phenomenon, has released six albums, gigged with BB King and Joe Bonamassa and is just about 30 years of age. Yes, Joanne Shaw Taylor is a bit special. Her latest tour, for a girl who gigs as hard as she rocks, took in The Globe, probably for the last time as she is surely destined for much larger venues in the future.

Promoting her new release, the excellent Wild, JST hit the stage shortly before 9pm to a rapturous reception. Such is her burgeoning reputation, this gig sold out several weeks in advance of the actual date. The audience was as you’d expect but totally absorbed in the talent of JST and her fabulous backing band who included Oliver Perry on drums and the amazing Luigi Casanova on bass and giant hair stack. Of course, focus was always on JST, her blond locks flowing as she threw her head back and laid down a 14 song set which proved superb entertainment. From the opening Dyin' To Know, to the closing Going Home, this was a brilliantly paced set which kept attention at all times. Five tracks from the new release were strategically placed at the start and finish of the set, with the cover of Wild Is The Wind, known for the Bowie cover but originally recorded by Johnny Mathis particularly impressive.

You’d expect that solos would be in plentiful supply at a gig of this nature, and there were occasions when JST’s dexterity up and down the fretboard was just amazing to observe. However, what is so captivating about JST is the humble simplicity of her songs which are soaked with soul and emotion, whilst retaining a raw edge that provides the necessary grit.  Her interaction with the fully appreciative audience was simple and genuine, the crowd responding with huge cheers and applause. Looking around the venue as the crowd streamed out, wide smiles and contented looks were everywhere. No greater endorsement of one of the best young talents in the rock world today. Stunning songs, great musicianship and a level of modesty which makes her appeal even more. This was my first JST experience in the live arena. It won’t be my last. 9/10

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