Joanne Shaw Taylor Indigo At The O2 London 22-2-24

First up was Connor Selby who is one of the brightest talents on the UK blues scene. He has been voted "Young Artist of the Year" at the UK Blues Awards for  three consecutive years (2020, 2021, 2022). He has an impressive venue checklist, including Wembley Stadium, where he opened for The Who in July 2019 and has since gone on to play Hyde Park, London, on a bill with Pearl Jam, Stereophonics and Johnny Marr in the summer of 2022.

Signed to Provogue Records he released his debut album to critical acclaim and his 5 song set of 30 minutes with his 3 piece band was a great introduction to a young man with a huge future ahead of him.

Falling In Love Again showed a vocal range and playing beyond his years and great backing vocals and keys from Stevie Watts.The highlight of the set Truth Comes Out Eventually with its balladic nature and full of emotion in voice and guitar tone respectively with it's lengthier song nature giving the song more chance to breathe.

That's Alright showed great band interplay and lock in before Emily finished the set on a high with it's rockier blues leanings leaving the crowd wanting more like all good support sets should.

Joanne Shaw Taylor star continues to ascend with the recent announcement of her latest album Heavy Soul due for release on 7th June produced by Kevin Shirley (Black Crowes, Journey, Aerosmith ) through Joe Bonamassa's Journeyman Records.

With an impressive 15 year career catalogue to draw from tonight's show did that and also included 2 songs from the forthcoming album due in June which Joanne said but unsure of the date as she won't be buying it !!

Backed by her band Shane Sanders on rhythm guitar and backing vocals ,Steve Lehane on bass and backing vocals, Phil Whitfield on  keys and backing vocals and Eric Savage on drums they were the rock to let Joanne shine. Sanders and Whitfield both had their solo spot and the band interplay was magnificent . Savage on drums was a powerhouse and at times sounded like he was using a kit 3 times the size and as joy to watch.

Joanne has grown as a performer and artist and stood mid stage a huge grin never leaves her as she states she picked a great long term job being a blues guitarist and after covid who knew if there would be live music or an audience. Her black country humour hasn't left her that is for sure.

The 15 song set lasted 1 hour and 35 minutes and started with In The Mood with it's insistent guitar riff and driving drum rhythm and Joanne showing she possesses a world class vocal prowess alongside her wonderful guitar playing and as she hits the first solo it's full of fast picking and held notes jaws drop around the impressive building.

Like all great blues artists Joanne includes a cover or 2 with Keep on Lovin' Me by the late Otis Rush and Can't You See What You Are Doing to Me by Albert King added to tonight and Joanne keeps it fresh and stamps her won authority on both vocally and in guitar tone.

Dyin To Know is stunning and includes audience participation before the big main riff kicks in and Eric Savage drives it to even greater heights and a fiery short guitar solo dips in and then back to the main rhythm section and then more guitar add libbing from Joanne.

First new song from the new album is Dirty Love and is well received as the tracks have been well dripped fed online as Joanne put it to the crowd.

Won't Be Fooled Again and Runaway from 2022's Nobody's Fool album are a welcome addition with the former showcasing Joanne's vocal and the picked guitar solo shows dexterity and the less is more approach.

Watch Em' Burn from the White Sugar album gives the band a chance to drive it deep and heavy and the metronome nature of it showed precision and clarity and Joanne to solo lengthily and not a note missed from anyone.

Fade Away again from Nobody's Fool takes it down a notch. Joanne told us it was a letter to her mum who she lost 10 years ago and how grief never leaves you just comes and goes and you adapt to the loss as anyone who has can understand.
Beautifully sang by Joanne joined just by the electric guitar pickings of Shane Sanders and the delightful keys of Phil Whitfield showed great use of light and shade and we could all feel her loss and what a wonderful emotional piece of music written for her mum.

Sweet Little Lies was the other new song played from Heavy Soul and my favourite heard so far. Driving rhythm and Joanne's superb vocal take alongside the insistent guitar add libbings under the main vocal chorus are a thing of beauty. Throw in 2 fast paced guitar solo's showcasing Joanne's ability and fluidity and we have a song for the ages.

Bad Love ended the set with a band workout at full pace before they returned for one encore of Going Home from White Sugar and left us acknowledging that a home grown talent is now a worldwide star.

With Heavy Soul watch Joanne Shaw Taylor take it to the next level.

 Photos used with thanks and credited to Ryan Hildrew .

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