Joan As Policewoman – Black Box, Belfast – Live Review – 14/08/18 – by Killian Laher
A sizeable crowd filled the laid back venue in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast for the visit of Joan Wasser and band. An atmosphere that was copper-fastened by opening act Peter J McCauley, who played a series of jazz-tinged ballads on piano. Quite an accomplished pianist he is too, powering through songs like Reservoir and Borders like the illegitimate son of Elton John and John Grant, with a sprinkling of Billy Joel. And McCauley was far better than that sounds, owning the room with self-deprecating humour, talking about doing gigs in nursing homes. Definitely one to watch, but don’t forget the ‘J’.
Joan Wasser and band strode through the crowd, making their entrance in matching bomber jackets. Initially it felt like we were getting a straight run through recent album Damned Devotion, as Wasser and band somewhat stiffly played the opening 3 tracks in sequence. However they loosened up considerably after that, Wasser revealing that the drummer had become a father 2 days previously! They came across like an old fashioned and very energetic soul band, almost funky at times. Highlights included Human Condition, a powerful version of The Silence and Christobel, the latter opening with Wasser cradling a fiddle before exploding into a Siouxsie-like vamp-out.
At this point someone in the crowd shouted “you’re better than Madonna” to which Wasser replied “are you single?” It was that kind of night, warm and friendly. They finished with a languid version of Prince’s classic song Kiss, which worked well. They even stuck around for autographs, handshakes and retail. Better than Madonna indeed. They visit Dublin today (Thursday) 16th August, 2018.