Joan As Police Woman @ Town Hall, 19th April 2018

As part of her current Damned Devotional tour, Joan Wasser, or as she is better known Joan As Police Woman, plays the Town Hall in Birmingham. The venue is oddly less than half full when she takes to the stage, but I wonder of this is a Birmingham thing, as most other dates have long been sold out.

Opening with ‘Wonderful’ she is supported by an excellent quartet, and they work like clockwork. Joan plays keyboards and also guitar on some tracks, but it is her amazing, clear vocal which is the real gift, and this is more evident on the new songs, of which the Damned Devotion is her darkest and pensive album to date.

‘Warning Bell’ and ‘Tell Me’ follow, both having received big support on 6Music recently. The sound engineer must take credit as the sound is perfect, and during those delicate moments you could hear a pin drop, sadly at one point it was not a pin but a bag of skittles being rattled and scoffed by a chap in the next aisle.

‘What was it like’ is a very personal tribute to her late Father, and the lyrics include one of  his sayings “I could never see what passing judgement on anybody else would ever do for me”. It is a beautiful song, a wonderful tribute, and dare I say her finest work.

The set is very simple, and at one point she asks for the house lights to be dimmed, to the point of when you’re about to go to sleep. The dimly lit stage just focused our attention even more.

Joan is very personable, and tells us about tonight’s tour merchandise, which incudes a satin tour jacket, and a luxury pink vinyl album (which she will be signing after the show). She also mentions that one of the band is sporting an ELO t-shirt and then asks if anyone knows Jeff Lynne or can arrange to get in contact with him. This is unlikely as I’m sure Mr Lynne sees more of Los Angeles these days than that Brum.

The set concludes all too quickly, but a two-song encore follows and concludes with a cover of the Prince song ‘Kiss’. It is brilliant and genius. She makes the song her own, with a gentle re-working, but still with a nod to the purple composer.

I would urge anyone with an ear for good music to listen to the Damned Devotion album. Live the songs took an extra depth, and it was just a shame so few Midlander’s witnessed this wonderful show and talent that is Joan As Police Woman.

Support tonight was by local lad, Fyfe Dangerfield, who for thirty minutes played a thought-provoking set, ranging from grand piano to guitar to a bass ukulele (only just purchased) and also different dressing gowns and at one point a pair of monster feet slippers.

He was asked about the Guillemots and he said they’d not split up but weren’t doing anything. So, there’s still hope.

Set-List

Wonderful

Warning Bell

Tell Me

Eternal Flame

Honor Wishes

What Was it Like

Steed (for Jean Genet)

Rely On

Valid Jagger

Damned Devotion

Human Condition

Talk About it Later

Silly Me

I Don’t Mind

The Silence

The Magic

Kiss

Reviewer: Glenn Raybone

Photographer: Stephanie Colledge

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