Joanne Shaw Taylor, Gig Review. Town Hall, Birmingham.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

The Queen of British Blues, the undoubted reigning monarch playing the guitar as if it was permanently attached to her, never letting go, never surrendering the pinnacle in which she has rightly attained; this is the realm of Joanne Shaw Taylor, a woman of creative Blues and the Queen of the Birmingham Town Hall.

The final night of the latest tour saw this Midlands force come home, find her way to the city that knew instinctively she was destined to become as big as any other musician across all the possible genres that has made the city proud. The Kings of Birmingham’s Heavy Metal, Black Sabbath, may be finishing their long career within the next seven days on a high in the area, however it could and should be argued with increasing vigour that the new monarch is ready, willing and absolutely able to take Birmingham on to the next stage in its musical journey.

Remarkably, and despite the smiles of protestations forth coming from the stage in which Ms. Shaw Taylor suggests that still, even after all this time, people are unaware of who she is, the music and terrific support she received was enough to confirm that the world will always spin with a measure of serenity as the British Blues heart goes on.

There is an audible sense of pleasure in the Town Hall crowd, the vicious biting wind that streaked with pace up New Street forgotten and let go for a few hours, the pleasure of being warm now enhanced as the beat, that sweeping gesture of anarchy and structure played out and without mercy.

Time has been served, the music has become all consuming and the Birmingham Town Hall, standing proud despite the corporation vandalism surrounding it, and the wild streak of this musician drew breath for a moment and devastated the rubble and shook the foundations to its very core.

With songs such as No Reason To Stay, the superb Jump That Train, Diamonds in The Dirt, Tried, Tested & True, the sensuous Wanna Be My Lover and Wild Is The Wind all leaving their huge mark on the night, Joanne Shaw Taylor strode on as Birmingham’s music heroine. Time is precious, it ebbs silently away but in the hands of this incredible Blues player it stands for a while, applauding, cheering and taking in the scene of resolute beauty.

A fantastic night, Blues at its very, very best and in this country, in Europe, arguably there is nobody better.

Ian D. Hall