25 September 2019 (gig)
28 September 2019
As I said recently, when I reviewed ‘The Muscle Shoals Sessions’, Amanda St John has a powerful and deeply soulful voice. The album is a delight not least because it was so enjoyable to hear her alongside a full band – horns, strings and all – and totally coming out on top.
So it was with some fascination that I went along to the Green Note in Camden to hear her play live – I thought that she would have a full band and I really couldn’t imagine how that would go over in such a tiny space as the Green Note.
Now reset. She actually only had two musicians on stage with her- Paul Tierney, her regular guitarist and Stevie Watts on keyboards, who I had seen only a few days before, playing with Danny Bryant.
The resulting set was totally different to expectations but the stripped down nature of the band and the tiny space combined to make the performance incredibly intense and emotional.
Every song seemed to take on a greater level of intimacy, her lyrics standing out and really having their own identity.
This was no flippant performance, no sense of dialling it in and the audience loved it from start to finish (she overran by around 15 minutes but no-one minded).
For me, the two standout moments were a terrific version of ‘Muscle Shoals’ that had us all clapping and bopping away and the deeply emotional and powerful song ‘Grow’ – all about her recovery from a devastating car accident – that had the whole crowd feeling her passion and emotion.
Ms St John has been around for a few years. She is very experienced as a performer and as a singer and all of this came out to give the crowd a superb performance with little chats between songs, giving us little insights to her and endearing herself to what can be a very difficult crowd.
The lady is something special and all the better for the closeness of the performance.