Brighton’s always had a faintly sordid come down vibe, as though every day is like the last day of a festival. Into the city come Brooklyn’s Joan as Policewoman, intent on banishing the Sunday night gloom.
There’s an echo of Chrissie Hynde and Elvis Presley about Joan Wasser, with a bit of PJ Harvey thrown somewhere in between. It’s all a bit incongruous, as though she’s far more confident than you give her credit for, or far less, you can’t quite tell which.
It starts as an emotional romp of contemplative, melancholic offerings to the dead. ‘Flushed Chest’ for former lover Jeff Buckley, ‘To Be Lonely’, the beautifully synthy ‘Start of My Heart’ and ‘We Don’t Own It’ dedicated to Elliott Smith. Her vocal range yearns to be unleashed but Joan likes to keep you waiting. The emotional foreplay comes to an end with a unique interpretation of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Light my Fire’ and the throbbing ‘Christobel’ which lifts the mood completely. ‘This is for the new Black House ….. yeeeeeeow!’ screams Joan as the band launch ‘To America’ - a duet recorded with long time cohort Rufus Wainwright. Tonight Rufus’ falsetto vocals are gallantly performed by bassist Timo Ellis and drummer Kindred Parker. The energy leads into a ferocious ‘Furious’, the highlight of the night, but just as they get going the lights come up.
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