Not sure why but I had a good feeling about this Jo Harman gig. There was this little something in the back of my head that telling to make sure, no matter how tired I was, that I made it down. I’m sure having I Will Not Be Moved on constant repeat the last few days may have helped generate this feeling.
So when her band sauntered on with a reserved swagger and I noticed the familiar face of Terry Lewis picking up his guitar I had a feeling it might be just a little epic. Indeed, from pretty much the first note, Jo Harman and Co. completely kicked-ass for an hour and half (plus some change).
The show was a bit of a roller-coaster flowing from rock laced soulful tracks with Jo screaming away like a banshee interspersed with restrained and powerful blues like Sweet Man Moses to calm things down.
It was on these calming moments that Jo really took it to the next level. Amnesty, and Cold Heart were both enticing listens. Sideways was made even more emotive thanks to Mr. Lewis’ killer solo, Jo taking a seat at the back of the stage to show it the respect it deserved. A duet with Mike Davies of You’re All I Need was a sweet listen, the two seeming to intertwine and blossom like flowers in spring on stage together.
The wow moment of the night though, the one that has me still more than a little in awe of Jo Harman and Company was the performance of Fragile, which was quite frankly stunning.
I thought I’ve heard the Jazz Cafe silenced before; I was clearly mistaken because I have never heard it that silent. Close your eyes and it was as if she was singing to you in an empty room. Between notes you could hear the ventilation whirring away. She had each and every person there hanging on every breath. In a venue I’ve come to know for its chatter this was a stellar achievement. The performance was so powerful that the woman standing next to me was in tears by the end. It was a song delivered to perfection.
A cover of Pharrell’s Happy was just that, a playful take on the familiar track. They closed the night with Work To Do, which felt more like a celebratory expression as opposed to tightly rehearsed number and it was all the more enjoyable for it.
All that said there was one travesty on the night… she never sung I Will Not Be Moved! Guess that’s reason enough to see her perform again because at times it was close to spectacular.