Joanne Shaw Taylor & Federal Charm @ Sale Waterside
Anthony Firmin saw Smoke On The Water-side during Joanne Shaw Taylor’s firey performance in Sale
The last time I saw Joanne Shaw Taylor perform in Manchester her playing was like an inferno and consequently the fire alarm went off during the second song of her set.
She returned with a sold out show at the Robert Bolton Theatre in the Sale Waterside Arts Centre, more than ably supported by Stockport blues rockers Federal Charm who launched their second album, Across The Divide, at the gig – a huge achievement for them. Having seen them previously support Rich Robinson it is great that they have progressed in both confidence and style.
Featuring a mix of new and old songs, their 30-minute slot was far too short and flew by. It included excellent performances of the new single Hercules and set closer Reaction, the reaction to which was overwhelmingly positive from the audience. It was heart warming to see that three-quarters of the seats were occupied too and judging by the activity at the merch stand it looks like they deservedly picked up a few new fans. Federal Charm has a gig at Academy 3 in Manchester on 31st October, do not miss it.
Although a regular on the touring circuit I never tire of seeing JST live, you know that her songs and performances are from the heart and it will always be a stunning show. Set opener Mud Honey provided such a fiery pace I worried the fire alarms would go off again and this momentum continued with Outlaw Angel and Wrecking Ball, bassist Tom Godlington and drummer Oliver Perry proving the perfect rhythm section for JST’s songs through the evening.
The subject of relationship problems is always going to crop up in the song writing of blues musicians and so it was with Tried, Tested and True about continually being put down and Diamonds In The Dirt showing that good can come of it. A poignant acoustic interlude, Almost Always Never, written when she was losing her mother to ovarian cancer was beautiful yet subtle.
I was initially surprised to see the theatre was set up as a seated venue for this performance but became less surprised as the majority of the considerably older audience shuffled in, most of whom were old enough to be her parents. But amongst this crowd there were definitely itchy feet with one guy on the front row doing his dad dancing whilst sat in his seat, he looked like a demented octopus during the extended solo in Time Has Come. And no fire alarm went off when she played the Texas blues of Watch ’Em Burn, bugger...
Unusually for JST there would be no autograph signing after the show as she had another gig to do in Manchester at 11:30 for Breast Cancer Awareness, I doubt anyone would complain about that but it shows how much of a workaholic she is. Set closers Tied And Bound and Going Home came across as faultless as did encore The Dirty Truth, nobody leaving unhappy from this Job-done Shaw Taylor gig!
Images & Words: Anthony Firmin
Over £1,200 was raised on the evening at the Hard Rock Cafe, with all funds going to breast cancer charity, the Caron Keating Foundation. Part of the evening's fundraising saw a Hard Rock acoustic guitar, signed by Joanne Shaw Taylor, auctioned off.