Live at the Barbican, London, May 08, 2015 • Reviewed by Charlie Ingram
Last time I came to the Barbican for a musical event it was actually four or five years ago for a recital by the London Philharmonic. A very different kind of performance to Beth Hart, and maybe more suited to a hall covered in acoustic panels and purpose built for string instruments other than guitars.
After a 40 minute warm up by support act and Irish singer song writer Miles Graham–who is definitely an up and coming artist to watch–Beth leapt on stage with her almost manic energy and performed an emotional piano solo titled 'Ma This One's For You'. A tribute to her mom and all that she's done for her, it really felt as though Beth is just letting it all out, just as she usually does. Sadly her performance was really let down by the venue! Her amplified voice carried weirdly in the hall and gave it an (musically sharp) echo that detracted from an otherwise amazing and heartfelt performance. Unfortunately this carried on through out the set, and had an even worse effect on the drums.
Ignoring the small issue with the echo, the gig was engaging and fueled by Beth's endless energy and well supported by an extremely good–and well dressed– band. There were over 20 songs in the set, with good variety. From the slow and melodic 'Tell Her You Belong to Me' and 'As Long As I Have A Song' to the almost power ballad 'Mechanical Heart'. Even featuring a tongue in cheek version of 'Monkey Back' and even 'Chocolate Jesus'. Although she's just released the new album 'Better Than Home', there was lots of older material and as a definite bonus, a few covers. In fact I don't think I've heard a better performance of 'Nutbush City Limits'.
Bursting with flair and personality, Beth's got something few others have. A truly amazing dynamic with audience and band that make her gigs unmissable events.
Want to see real talent and passion? Look no further than Beth Hart!