Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Beth Hart gets down and dirty for a memorable show at London Palladium

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The night before, when she was also due to play at the iconic venue, Los Angeles-based Beth – who was recovering from Covid – had to cancel at the last minute. “It makes you crazy in your head – I was tripping,” the 51-year-old musician told the 2300-strong crowd. “But tonight I’m strong enough to give it a shot.” If she was off colour, it certainly didn’t show.

Her voice – dirty, drawly and sexy as hell – was on point throughout, from the raw, soul-baring ballad Leave the Light On, to the sass-filled Bad Woman Blues.

With a truly impressive vocal range, Beth’s voice was thick and luxurious – the musical equivalent of a boozy hot chocolate.

The set – with a smattering of her biggest hits, plus covers (including Tom Waits’ Chocolate Jesus) and lesser known surprises – was part blues, part jazz, part rock and roll, with a little bit of Baptist church thrown in.

“This song scares me, so pray for me,” she joked, as she took us to church with the wonderfully uptempo Spirit of God. I knew I was treading on hallowed ground with this one. I know where I am – in England – the home of Led Zeppelin. I could be killed for getting this wrong,” said Beth, before launching into When the Levee Breaks/Dancing Days.

At several points during the show, Beth showed real emotion, and tears fell as she spoke about her friend and legendary guitarist Jeff Beck, who passed away in January.

“Even if he thought you sucked, he’d say ‘it’s illegal how great you are’ – that’s how kind he was,” she mused, before playing Rub Me For Luck in tribute.

As a frontwoman, Beth is nothing short of mesmerising. She moves in a sensuous, almost animalistic way that makes it impossible to look away.

Her longtime band – guitarist Jon Nichols guitar, drummer Bill Ransom, and bassist Tom Lilly – were phenomenal, too. As the two-hour show drew to its conclusion – although the foursome looked to be having so much fun I’m sure they could have continued into the early hours – an acoustic section allowed them to truly shine.

Tangible, real and raw, Beth’s set was interwoven with stories, from her stints in rehab to the love story she shares with her husband Scott. She’s foul mouthed, funny, and an exceptional talent.

I came in a mild Spotify listener and left as a fan.

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