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11,783 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 1023 of them this year alone and, so far, 50 this month (Sept. 17).

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SEPTEMBER

IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK IN ADVANCE WITH THE VENUE THAT THE GIG IS ON

THURSDAY 24

Vieux Carre Jazzmen - The Holystone, Whitley Road, North Tyneside NE27 0DA. 0191 266 6173. 1:00pm. Free.

Abbie Finn Trio - Gosforth Civic Theatre, Regent Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 3HD. Tel: 0191 284 3700. 7:30pm. Donations on the night. To book a table (max four people from one household/support bubble) visit: www.gosforthcivictheatre.co.uk.

Maine St Jazzmen - Sunniside Social Club, Sunniside Road, Sunniside NE16 5NA. Tel: 0191 488 7347. 8:00pm - 10pm. Free. Note earlier start/finish.

FRIDAY 25

SouLutions Sistas - Hoochie Coochie, Pilgrim St., Newcastle NE1 6SF. Tel: 0191 222 0130. 8:30pm (7:00pm doors). £10.00. SOLD OUT!

SATURDAY 26

Boys of Brass - Tyne Bank Brewery, Walker Road, Newcastle NE6 2AB. Tel: 0191 265 2828. 7:00pm. £10.00. + £1.37 bf for table for two. Other packages available. See www.tynebankbrewery.co.uk.

SUNDAY 27

Vieux Carre Hot 4 - Spanish City, Spanish City Plaza, Whitley Bay NE26 1BG. 12 noon. Tel: 0191 691 7090. Free.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ian Shaw & the Theory of Joy Trio @ Sage Gateshead. June 15

Ian Shaw (vocals), Barry Green (piano), Mick Hutton (double bass) & Dave Ohm (drums)
(Review by Russell)
Ian Shaw likes Joni Mitchell. Assuming they’ve never met, it’s a fair bet Mitchell would like Shaw. In Sage Two, Ian Shaw entertained as vocalist, as storyteller. Opening his set with Mitchell’s In France They Kiss on Main Street, Shaw and the Theory of Joy – a trio worthy of a gig in its own right – delivered an intimate performance, singing and talking to an adoring audience.
Shaw – composer, vocalist, pianist and stand-up comedian – returned to Sage Gateshead a matter of weeks after starring at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival. This time he left the piano playing to Barry Green. Singing a selection of songs from his new CD The Theory of Joy, the man from north Wales reaffirmed his status as a vocal superstar. Kurt Elling, Tony Bennett, they exude a nonchalant command of their art, so too Ian Shaw. A swinging All This and Betty Too showcased the trio’s jazz credentials as Shaw paid dues to Ms Betty Carter. Between times Shaw’s storytelling threatened epic proportions. The one about the cheese pasty, the micro wave and hiding in a Nuneaton cupboard (all true, ask him about it sometime) had our man strolling the stage, the timing, that of a natural, then turning to his band mates in self-admonishment, suggesting he’d talked too long and they would, perhaps, have to cut a number from the set but not before singing Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Love.

Shaw the campaigner: fundraiser and friend to the many displaced persons abandoned to their fate on the high seas of xenophobia, spoke eloquently, an informed voice. There is zero chance of Shaw’s words appearing front page on the red tops. He does what he can. My Brother is a song for our times.

Second set: You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two. See it as a show tune if you will, hear it as a commentary on our ‘all in it together’ times. Shaw mentioned the double vinyl (and digital download) release of The Theory of Joy contained three bonus tracks (he admitted he didn’t have a vinyl copy of his own record). He sang one of them – Last Man Alive. A vocal range to die for (several singers were in the audience…what were they thinking?), the main man sang Michel Legrand’s How Do You Keep the Music Playing? The trio did get the opportunity to stretch out on a couple of numbers as Shaw confided he can find it difficult to work with bass players other than Mick Hutton, so highly does he regard his musicianship, and drummer Dave Ohm is similarly in the ‘first call’ category.       

For an encore Ian Shaw sang Somewhere Towards Love. Passionate, perhaps sentimental, but so effective. 

Russell.         

3 comments :

Jen Errington said...

I agree with Russell that the vocals and the trio were superb. However, I went to the Sage to listen to a full performance of music. I was not expecting to sit for 20 minutes in the first half hearing about Ian's childhood in Wales and in particular his bed wetting antics. Nor a further 15 minutes in the 2nd half having to listen to the incident of the cheese pasty. In addition, his references to refugees/gays/the incident in Orlando, and politicians with whom he didn't agree with, in my opinion, were completely out of place. This is the first time I have heard Ian Shaw as a solo artist and guess what? I won't be seeing him again!

Hugh said...

Good review, Russell - tells it as it was. I can see Jen's point regarding the repartee. The route from Shaw's North Wales Presbyterian childhood to "prairie tortoise" was somewhat convoluted - and he had to be reminded by the band that he had not actually delivered the punchline!

Up with the greats as far as his singing goes, though, no doubt. Shame there weren't more there though, as we noted at the time. The album is excellent too, surprised he did not have a few to sell, even if he does not have a copy of the vinyl double album himself!

JC said...

A great review of a fascinating and multi-layered gig. Some music and musicians have always used their talent to engage with what is happening in the world around them and Ian Shaw is one. He makes no secret of his commitment to a variety of social and political causes and to me that adds to the intensity of his singing. This is not to say he gives political lectures but rather makes his comments with wit and respect and then uses all his vocal ability to transform what sometimes could be fairly ordinary show tunes into something exceptional.
His last song was a fine example of this. He introduced it by talking about attending the vigil in Soho for those killed in the Orlando shootings and how he had heard that refugees in Calais had also held their own event. He said the song had been written by two gay, Jewish men in the 1950s, both the sons of immigrants and the show ended with him singing beautifully the song from West Side Story, There's a Place for Us.
JC

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