Recently, our very own Steve Crowley had the opportunity to attend a live Joanne Shaw Taylor show at Thunder Road, Somerville, MA. Here is his story.
Last time I saw Joanne Shaw Taylor live was almost two years ago. Tonight marks the first of three times this year that I will an opportunity to experience JST live, and relatively up close. Arriving at Thunder Road in Somerville, Massachusetts, I was treated to the last few minutes of JST and her band finishing their sound check. The establishment began to fill up around 8PM and by the time the opening act went on stage, there were about 200 people waiting for the show to begin.
The opening act was The Ben Knight Band, rising favorites out of Boston who were joined on stage by another local favorite, Barrett Anderson. Anderson, a singer-songwriter, and guitarist, won the 2013 Boston Blues Artist of the year award. For about an hour, they had the audience hanging on every note. Lead singer and keyboardist of the Ben Knight Band, Mr. Ben Knight himself, is a blend of Little Richard and James Brown, even though he is only in his early twenties. Songs such as “Baby Blue Eyes,” have an uplifting beat that will definitely be a fan favorite. “Valerie” captures all things New Orleans with a mind blowing horn section that had the entire room on their feet.
The band did “Can’t Find My Way Home” justice with their own moving performance, which got the some of the loudest cheers from the audience all night. Another classic number played by the band was “Minnie the Moocher.” This was an audience participation song and brought the house down! If you have not seen or heard the Ben Knight Band, you should give them a listen. Their nonstop energy and talent will leave you wanting more.
It was nearing 10:30 when Joanne Shaw Taylor and company took to the stage, but it was worth the wait! JST kicked off with the gritty blues “Mud Honey,” a hard-hitting, in your face song packed with power, and a perfect way to get things fired up for the evening of great music to come! After a brief pause to change guitars, JST and her band tore into “The Dirty Truth,” another adrenaline pumping track off of The Dirty Truth. By the end of the first two songs, JST had the place won over! But JST was nowhere near done for the evening. Not even close!
Paying tribute to the late great Freddie King, JST masterfully covered “Going Down,” much to the audience’s approval. JST finished out the set with the title track of her 2014 album, The Dirty Truth. For the diehard fans that were there, this was the cherry on the sundae. Listening to Taylor play, there is no mistaking who her influences are. The influence of legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert Collins and Jimi Hendrix can be heard throughout her set list, and her guitar skills reflect favorably upon them.
Since her debut album White Sugar in 2009, Joanne Shaw Taylor has been a force to be reckoned with. If you have not heard Joanne Shaw Taylor’s music or experienced her live in concert, go see her! You will be glad you did!