Valerie June at Scala
Following the release of her fourth studio album, Valerie June brought her unique mixture of Tennessee blues, folk, gospel and soul to Scala. The evening was inaugurated with a slow off-beat drum, and as the band members walked onto the stage, the lights dimmed and the atmosphere of something like a Southern evening in the twilight descended. June picked up a banjo and broke straight into the repetitive soulful blues of Man Done Wrong.
Unfortunately, Valerie June’s voice wasn’t at its best. There were several times throughout the performance where she went out of tune, especially during her second track, The Hour, which was quite painful to listen to. Despite this, the musician showed off her talents switching between guitar, banjo, and ukulele, and singing well on other numbers. It took a while for her to address the room too, but as the set continued, the band left the performing area, The songwriter switched to acoustic, and she introduced a friend onto the stage to sing with her. Here, June started to talk about the origins of her songs – it was the most interesting part of the whole gig – and she proved to be quirky and funny, and showed more of her personality to the crowd, who responded positively. Beforehand, the audience had been a little stolid, watching, clapping when necessary, but as the artist revealed the strange origins of Twined & Twisted, the concert morphed into an incredibly intimate affair. Following another origin story, the room really respond to her rendition of Rain Dance. At her best, this singer’s unique voice and style did come alive in the intimate setting, but, sadly, it didn’t stay that way.
Valerie June offers an interesting mix of Americana, blues, soul, and folk music, but her performance on the night was mediocre. Enjoyable for fans, most likely, but her stage presence was tepid and her voice faltered throughout the set. However, she transported London to the Deep South for an evening, and this is admirable on its own.
Photos: Daniel Donovan
For further information about Valerie June and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Shakedown here: