Imelda May brings to the capital a show oozing quality and soul
At first sight the grandeur and history of the London Palladium isn't the place you'd expect some good old fashioned down home soul but despite the somewhat stilting theatre style venue Imelda May made this part of town her own.
I've never been a fan of gigs in theatres, partly because photographers are often restricted to the side or sound board but mainly because the sit-in-your-box situation seems to me to stop a decent atmosphere forming.
Of course all that is null and void when the support is of the quality of Jack Lukeman.
A man with a tower of a voice, Lukeman had them standing and singing from very early on in his brilliant set and he proved to be an inspired choice for May's sold out gig.
Of note has to be his 'old man river' rendition that stopped hard bitten photographers,reviewers and sound guys in their tracks.
Although not a massive fan of Americana this guy certainly won me over and I'll be looking out for him the future.
A quick five quid Hobgoblin in an ante room provided by some of the friendliest theatre staff I've ever come across preceded the main event.
May took the stage in the dark and sat in a simple single spot to sing the opening number Call Me.
Engaging and with a wicked sense of humour Imelda had the admittedly already committed audience eating out of the palm of her hand from bar one.
Having said that as a somewhat more detached viewer I have to say that her performance was impressive. I'm sure that I can't be the first to comment on such a big voice emanating from a small frame but I'm going to note it anyway.
May's vocals oozed southern soul and together with her largely changed band the whole show screamed quality.
What did we learn? We learned that the best way to get over a breakup is to drink wine, go online and buy shoes. this really helps apparently. We didn't learn how May likes her eggs in the morning but we DID learn that her songs come directly from the heart.
This was especially evident in her moving tribute to Marketing Exec Thomas Ayad from her music company who was tragically killed in the Bataclan shooting and although it was a sad note in an otherwise massively upbeat set, it showed that Imelda May has compassion in spades.
Having seen this lady only once live before at a dusty festival I was curious to see how she would work a room and truth be told the set from her and her impressive backing band shouted professionalism (in a good way).
If you get a chance to check out Ms May on the remaining dates of her tour then I'd suggest you snap up a ticket (if available) as it's a show not to be missed.
Jack Lukeman - http://www.jacklukeman.com/
Imelda May - https://imeldamay.co.uk/