Joan as Policewoman at The Lexington
Performing to a sold-out and incredibly eclectic crowd, Joan began on keyboard with new retro-soul track Witness. Reminiscent of Winehouse or Plan B’s radio-friendly vibe and backed by a small but mighty band it proved a strong opening and, arriving on stage a little later that scheduled, it was obvious from their applause the fans were delighted to see her.
Hailing from Connecticut, Joan began as a classical musician before leaving Beethoven behind and taking a different approach joining the Dambuilders playing violin. Her strong and unique talents as a performer, arranger and writer quickly enabled her to work with some of the biggest names in the business including the legendary Elton John, Scissor Sisters and late-great Lou Reed along with opening for Rufus Wainwright in 2004.
This multi instrumentalist, singer-songwriter released her solo debut record Real Life in 2006, though current album The Classic was without doubt the focus of this evening’s show and made clear her departure from the powerful indie torch songs of old onto the more widespread, if at times overpopulated, retro-soul train. Swapping keys for strings and playing guitar, the darker Bond-tinged track Good Together also demonstrated Joan’s considerable stage experience, soldiering on even when her zipper came down a bit.
Occasionally the bass literally made the room shake which proved annoyingly detracting and prevented the more subtle shades of Joan’s voice from shining through, as evident when her intimate song Get Direct began as it showcased her complex softer vocals and appealing delivery to great effect. Even a mic’s technical issues didn’t faze and with the support of her captivated crowd once that issue corrected this lilting and haunting track really flew.
It’s clear Joan has immense talent; complete devotion to her craft, superior pitching and stage presence however, it wasn’t always easy to hear her intelligent lyrics and the diverse flavours of the new material proved hit and miss throughout.
Sharing fifth album The Classic was certainly the main event but sprinkling in a few of her old songs proved a major crowd-pleaser and drew rapturous applause, as well as showing Joan’s ease and joy at interacting with the room and all her UK fans.
Photos: Rosie Yang
For further information and future events visit Joan as Policewoman’s website here.
Watch the video for The Classic here: