Joss Stone @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire 5th September 2012

I have been a fan of Joss Stone’s music ever since Mind, Body & Soul (I liked her début album The Soul Sessions but it was its follow up that got me hooked). This date was part of the tour of her brand new album The Soul Sessions Volume 2 (which is the sequel to the début LP). Stone is an artist who doesn’t come around that often. I had wanted to attend the show at Under The Bridge at the beginning of June but unfortunately that sold out. Joss also performed the day before at Mama Stones (her mothers bar) in Exeter. Other than that the last Joss Stone gig was in 2010. I got to the venue about 2pm and as expected I was the only one there. Actually it was a shame that this date did not sell out because Joss has a phenomenal vocal range.

Fast forward to 7pm and the doors finally opened. Once in I strolled to the barrier and chose the position that I was happy with. With the fact I hadn’t witnessed Joss play live before it was difficult to judge what the set up would be. I then chose to stand centre but slightly to the right. Things kicked off with Leigh Coleman who performed songs from his début EP It Is What It Is. I enjoyed the set which was performed but what captivated me were Yes Sir Boss. This set was special and a one off. The reason for this was the fact bassist Luke Potter took to the vocals as Matt Sellors had lost his voice. I rather enjoyed the ska/ reggae music that they played.

It was around 9.15pm when proceedings started. The band then took to the stage then Joss Stone came strolling on bare foot moments later. The opener was (For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People which was originally sung by The Chi- Lites back in 1971. Joss’s take on this song showcased her startling vocals to perfection. It features on the new 6th studio album The Soul Sessions Volume 2 and this track oozed soul. “How’s it going? Thanks for coming. So I’m going to sing some of the new songs for you. Hope you like them. Enjoy. Have a giggle, have a laugh” Stone said before tackling another and this being the 1st single taken from the new LP and this being While You’re Out Looking For Sugar. Originally a hit for Honey Cone back in 1969 Joss does it complete justice. This was delivered at a mid pace and the vocals were extremely strong.

After plenty of cheers it was then onto something from sophomore album Mind, Body & Soul and this being You Had Me. But this was only a snippet which was slightly disappointing as it is one of my favourite Joss Stone songs. “Are you all ready to sing with me now?” Stone said ad libbing when the band started to play the next song. This track was basically gelled to the end of You Had Me and this being Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin’ On Me) Pt 1 which was taken from The Soul Sessions LP. Released in 2004 Super Duper Love was originally a hit for Willie “Sugar Billy” Garner back in 1974. Stone’s take on this song was soulful and it was a real crowd pleaser at the same time. “So now we’re going to play some new ones again. Don’t get bored” Joss quipped as the paparazzi made their exit. It was then onto another cover by The Chi- Lites and this being Stoned Out Of My Mind. I rather liked this song it was delivered faultlessly and Stone made it her own. It was then straight onto Womack & Womack cover Teardrops. This song is the one that stands out when you look at the tracklisting to The Soul Sessions Volume 2. This sleek R&B track was originally a hit back in 1988. I loved the lyrics to this number. It was then straight onto an original and this being Big Ol’ Game. This song was taken from the Colour Me Free album. Big Ol’ Game was a smooth song and was delivered to perfection but it wasn’t the strongest song of the set. “So now we’re had our fun, we have to get serious at some point. I know it’s sh*t. I’m going to get emotional. So this one is by Dorothy Moore and she’s amazing. This album is all covers, so there’s a whole other world of music. The doors have been opened to me” Stone said before introducing the next song as I Don’t Wanna Be With Nobody But You. This was sung with plenty of passion and plenty of soul which made it sound incredible. “So anyway we’re going to have a lot of fun now. I’m very excited. There’s some chap called Crowe. So there was a time in my life I meet God. I was young and foolish. I still believe it to be true. I’m still trying to hold on to that. There was no unconditional love and I’m not trying to be depressing. I’m just saying it’s unsafe. If you’re from a person to person , there needs to be conditions on their love. It’s the only way. You can’t take all sorts of sh*t and love them anyway, you just cant. Unless of course, mother, daughter, father, son. When it comes to music it’s completely unconditional. It’s just lovely. Anyway I wrote a song about it and this man reminds me of just that love” Joss said before launching into something incredible. This was to be Music which featured on her 3rd studio album Introducing Joss Stone. What made this stunning was the fact she was joined by Leigh Coleman and human beatboxer Dave Crowe. “You’re in for a treat” Joss said before tackling this song (on the album this song was a duet with Lauryn Hill). Vocally it was superb, with the fact she was joined by Dave Crowe made the song edgy and upbeat. “So this one is called. It’s actually called I Got The…. I don’t know why. Personally I would call it I Got The Blues but it’s not my call. So it’s I Got The” Stone said before taking on this Labi Siffre cover. Dave Crowe stayed on stage with Joss for this outstanding number. I really liked this number. I Got The has actually been sampled on Eminem’s début single My Name Is. During that part that is when Crowe did his beatboxing. “So now we’re going to play a song you might know. Sing along if you fancy it. Cos I always forget the words anyway. So I need a bit of help” Stone mentioned to the audience before Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now. This was completely impeccable. Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now is like a soulful ballad and it was rather beautiful/ gentle. Towards the end there was a reggae vibe.

It was then onto début single Fell In Love With A Boy which was released back in 2004. This being a cover of The White Stripes’s Fell In Love With A Girl which Joss then changed. The lyrics had been tweaked slightly and the rock riffs were replaced with a soulful tune. There was plenty audience participation during this number. “OK we’ve got one more. This is a new one. It’s really fun. Hope you like it” Stone said before bringing things to a close with First Taste Of Hurt. This soulful tune was a Willy Tee cover which does not feature on the standard The Soul Sessions Volume 2 LP. Her take on this obscure 1970’s R&B track was excellent. I rather liked it plus it was extremely light. Stone then left the stage only to return moments later for a two song encore. “There’s a song called The High Road. Do you like that one? It’s alright. Shall we play it?” she then said before a Broken Bells cover and this being The High Road. I haven’t heard the original version but Joss’s take on it was outstanding. “I’ve got one more up my sleeve” Joss said before ending with Right To Be Wrong which is taken from the Mind, Body & Soul LP. This track was really mellow and pleased the crowd. Joss stretched out this song as long as possible. People didn’t want the night to end.

SET LIST

(For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People
While You’re Out Looking For Sugar
You Had Me
Super Duper Love (Are You Diggin’ On Me) Pt 1
Stoned Out Of My Mind
Teardrops
Big Ol Game
I Don’t Wanna Be With Nobody But You
Music
I Got The…
Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do Now
Fell In Love With A Boy
First Taste Of Hurt

ENCORE

The High Road
Right To Be Wrong

OVERALL: There is no doubt that Joss Stone is a tremendous talent. She has a cracking pair of lungs which makes her deliver soulful covers (and original songs) to her full potential. It was a great shame that this night wasn’t a sell out (well upstairs seating was) because Stone has something extremely special that captivates the listener.

I like the fact that she took to the stage bare foot. From that you can tell that she keeps her feet firmly on the ground. Also Joss has a lovely and sweet personality which I adore.

Based on this performance I most definitely will see her perform again. Judging from the very few gigs she has done in the UK I don’t know when that would be. If I was to pick where in London Joss Stone was to play next I would go for either Jazz Café or Union Chapel. Both venues would suit Joss down to a T.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s