Just witnessed your
best live gig?.. send us a review!
BETH HART, Dingwalls, London 29 November 2011
the curate's egg this gig was good in parts. On a night of high
expectation and occasional inspiration, Beth Hart shone on the material
from her new soul album, but in spite of some spine tingling moments the
show never quite fulfilled its full potential.
The set list
that probably looked good on paper didn't seem to take into account her
own animated performance which takes as much out of the audience as the
performer herself. The end result was an occasional dynamic void and
probably one too many ballads.
night mirrored Beth own shift in focus from being a confessional singer
songwriter to an interpretive soul singer. And tonight's show played out
to a sizeable and enthusiastic crowd occasionally seemed to reflect the
unsteady career step.
nothing wrong with her magnificent voice or indeed her ability to derive
real emotional moments via eloquent phrasing and a clever mic technique,
both of which reached their apogee in a set defining version of Etta
James's 'I'd Rather Go Blind'.
her natural spontaneity there was a curious lack of ebb and flow to the
set. And while Beth Hart is an expressive performer and a vivacious
physical presence who feeds off her audience - her repeated question
'How ya feeling' was a typical locking in device to meld performer and
band - the set sometimes felt disjointed.
was simply down to her contrasting roles as a piano playing singer
songwriter and a full on rock singer who stood up for the bigger
was the curious perfunctory end to the show before she came back for an
encore that lasted over half an hour and had the feel of a different set
rather than a natural climax to the evening.
never go to a Beth Hart gig without being swept up by her emotional
conviction, intrinsic drive and natural exuberance.
was exacerbated by her unexpected re-appearance by which time some
people had already drifted off. And finally there was her band, which in
spite of the excellent drummer Tod Wolf - who gave the dynamic band
arrangements real heft - were for the most part functional without
bringing feel or colour to match her startling vibrato.
All that said, you never go to a Beth Hart gig without being swept up by
her emotional conviction, intrinsic drive and natural exuberance.
It's a style
that draws heavily on her colourful past to define her current standing
as one of the leading female roots rockers. And in that respect her
choice of soul covers on the 'Don't Explain' collaboration with Joe
Bonamassa is well chosen. But having achieved new found success with her
own material, she's now faced with the next step of how to make a
coherent whole of the two apparent separate parts.
In the event
she started in piano led, singer songwriter mode for the emotionally
wrought 'Leave The Light On' and the tightly wrapped 'Good As It Gets',
before dipping into the new album with the country tinged 'Well Well'.
This strident cover of the Delaney Bramlett song proved to be the litmus
test for the evening. It opened with a pounding drum pattern, strong
band harmonies, a chunky guitar figure and a blast of fierce scat
singing from Beth.
Is Black As Night' was another highlight with some sensual phrasing and
subtle use of her vibrato to nuance real feel. She was equally good on
'I'll Take Care Of You' with some lovely elongated vowels and an aching
vocal that evoked both vulnerability and self assertiveness in one line.
after the strangest segue of encores which started with a horrible
rumble and a short drum solo in a nondescript rocker, the extended
encore found a belated resolution with the show stopping 'I'd Rather Go
looking for an emotional connection with a song, Beth reinterpreted the
Etta James classic in the context of her absent father during childhood
and it proved to be mesmerising evidence of her ability both as a singer
If only the
rest of the evening had been similarly concise. As it was, she came, she
saw and offered fleeting glimpses of her true soulful vocation, of which
there's surely more to come.
Gig review (Leamington)
|Print this page in printer-friendly format
|Tell a friend about this page