Purple and turquoise smokey light billowed on top of us all while we waited in anticipation for Joan Wasser, also known as Joan as Police Woman. The cult soul singer and classically trained multi-instrumentalist, is famed for her work with high profile artists from ‘Antony and the Johnson’s’, ‘Lou Reed’ to her relationship with ‘Jeff Buckley’. She arrived at The Button Factory after an eight week European tour promoting her new and acclaimed album ‘The Classic’.
Hitting the stage like a bolt of lightening, she was seated on piano opening with ‘What Would You Do?’, ‘Holy City’ and ‘Good Together’. Her first few songs were largely from her new album and sounded raw and better live, the new album is slower to get into than her previous releases, but this performance may have changed perceptions. All songs continue to be soul driven, and her relaxed demeanour made us feel at ease. Despite the relentless tour schedule, she was fit, toned, and stylishly dressed in gold and black. Her guitarmanship was intense and raw, with her band behind her it was like they had taken a step back in time with a contemporary edge.
Playing mainly new material off The Classic released last March, many of the audience seemed to be long term fans of her previous work, judging by the shouted requests. Her highly prolific collection of work is not to be missed The Deep Field (2011), Cover (2009) and Real Life (2006), am I missing any? We were not disappointed as she moved around the stage picking up instruments, ‘playing them like the hell’ and then throwing them down to move on to the next. Wasser is an imaginative and interesting performer moving all the time from piano, to the microphone, to violin to guitar. The lights, her talent and her stage presence you don’t see many performances like this.
Standing in front of us she performed many beautiful soul engrained songs, but her mind blowing rendition of ‘Good Together’ is forever carved in my memory, along with the great line ‘don’t want to be nostalgic, for something that never was.
‘Christobel’ mesmerised us, afterwards she almost cried and in the end she did she was overcome with emotion and happiness, plus tour exhaustion. The crowd begged her for more at the end, she returned and played four more songs including ‘The Magic’ and the song ‘The Classic’ as an acoustic beat box rendition with the rest of the band was hilarious.
The atmosphere was tense, electric and live her new work went down well, plus she even signed copies of albums at the end. What a funny, uniquely talented and strong woman. Joan Wasser is an inspiration.
My favourite song was ‘The Ride’…if you were there that night what was your favourite song?
Review by Aine Byrne
In association with Dublinconcerts.ie