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HART, Borderline, London 24 May 2011
uncompromising take on the well worn Southern Californian confessional
singer songwriting model seems to be paying dividends. One part Janis
Joplin bluster with a mighty vocal range to match and one part a
contrastingly emotionally fragile but self affirming lyricist, she's
found a welcoming audience waiting for her in Europe. Beth deals in raw
autobiographical outpourings that chart her progress from down and out
rock & roll wild child to a confident songstress on the cusp of the BBC
Radio 2 playlist.
by her sudden unannounced march to the centre of the Borderline stage
for an opening cover of Aretha Franklin's 'Baby I Love You' she is an
artist in a hurry to make up for lost time.
and white hair style almost acts as a visual metaphor for her 'ying and
yang' past. But it was her vivacious personality and the quality of her
songs that allowed her to seize the moment tonight as she moved
confidently over a lyrical landscape given raw expression by her
effortless vocal range and a delicate vibrato, both crucially anchored
by a whip crack band.
In between drawing on songs that date back to her 2003 'Leave The Light
On' and focussing on the current 'My California' CD, she explored a
recent collaboration with Joe Bonamssa on 'Hiding Under Water' and
transformed two uncertain moments when she stumbled over her lyrics to
her own ends, by attributing the lapses to the presence of "god" aka
almost a mistake as she raised false audience expectations of a Beck
cameo, but we needn't have worried as her naturally exuberance, charisma
and sheer determination kept the show on track.
those rare moments of uncertainty when a song didn't quite catch fire,
she immediately compensated with an enquiring 'how ya doing' never
letting her audience's attention wander. Only a totally unnecessary bass
and drum solo and her own brief puzzling absence from the stage
detracted from a mesmerising performance.
rocked, sang from her soul, added touches of lyrical poignancy and threw
in some raucous humour and even touches of confrontational aggression in
a set of songs that mark her out as special.
sang her moving ballad 'Leave the Light On' - '21 on the run, on the run
from myself and everyone' - it was a raw lyrical theme that she
re-explored on the primal therapy qualities of the equally impressive
'LA Song' and the uncompromising, self revelatory 'One Eyed Chicken'.
included the line 'I'm not the kind of woman you'd want to take home' ,
and it this kind of emotional rawness and lyrical honesty that explains
her cross over appeal and high quotient of women fans...
But Beth was
not all doom and gloom as the celebratory 'As Good As It Gets' and the
irreverent domestic humour of 'Wash Your Stinky Feet Motherfucker'
her best for last, encoring with 'My California', which she dedicated to
her busy road manager/hubbie Scott and drew on all her soulful reserves
for a spine tingling finish with Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come'.
It was the perfect musical flashback to the core of her own visceral
style that is fast attracting attention.
Photos by Maggie
Charles, Get Ready to ROCK! presenter, writes:
Having not heard
that much from Beth Hart I did not know what to expect but I must say I
was impressed with the gig. (Band On The Wall, Manchester May 20)
Backed by 3
competent musos Beth has a really good rock blues voice and I was
surprised by the fact she didn’t perform more rock like tunes, but in
saying that I did enjoy the performance.
The set consisted
of a hour and half in length and the songs in the main had a fair amount
of personal back ground to them, as she had her share of setbacks with
drugs and the like.
I found some of
the performance not a million miles away from a Neil Young gig with a
bit of Carole King thrown in for good measure and it must be said that
she’s very talented.
For someone who’s
just completed an album with Joe Bonamassa I’m expecting her to break
into the UK music scene in a big way and can highly recommend her
performance and music.
But for those of
who like your rock a bit more hard hitting then it may not be your bag!
But give it a shot!
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