Review: Beth Hart, St David's Hall, Cardiff
I won't profess to say I know an incredible lot about Beth Hart, in fact if I'm honest, the majority of her music has ashamedly somehow managed to escape my radar. However, on seeing some of her live material on YouTube recently I felt it was time to get educated and take the opportunity to catch her live in concert at Cardiff's St David's Hall.
As I took my seat in the packed concert hall, it was interesting to see that there were fans of all ages there, a good sign that Beth clearly has an appeal across the board.
The Kris Barras band opened the show with a raw acoustic set. Usually recognised for their electric sound, the trio were well suited to a blues soaked Americana sound capturing the attention of the audience from the offset.
Hold on for Tomorrow and Watching over Me (a song dedicated to Kris' late father, a musician who inspired him to pick up the guitar as a five year old) were particular stand out tracks consisting of frequent energetic and intricate musicianship.
The bands set ended all too soon with a raucious rendition of Rock N Roll Running Thru My Veins displaying Kris vocals at full throttle. combined with fabulous guitar work.
The Kris Barras band certainly got the audience in a mood for good music and that certainly continued as Beth Hart strode on to the stage with two guitarists and drummer, proving that the bare basics can still create a powerful sound.
Displaying a diversity of musicianship from sitting at a piano playing a ballad or jazz to playing Americana Blues on guitar, Beth and her incredible band held the audience in the palm of their hands for just short of two hours,
"I always wanted to come to Wales because my second manager was Welsh," Beth told the audience, " He always used to say,"Go There" even though Its took us about 50 years to get here!"
Its rare to see a musician completely open up and talk about life and those close to them as well as their personal trials and tribulations. Beth did all that in two hours enabling the audience to connect with her as a person as well as a musician.
Many of the songs are biographical, Might as well Smile tells of the strength a friend gave her as she struggled with depression, while My California is a beautiful song devoted to her husband whom she misses while on tour.
Tell Her You Belong to Me is a reflective song dedicated to her father while Mama,This ones for You is an acknowledgement of the strength her mother has given her.
The audience were taken by surprise as Beth walked among them for her rendition of Delicious Surprise, while there were further treats in store when she picked up the guitar to perform Boogieman.
Beth's energetic rendition of Saved showed she could rock like Elvis while still been able to turn down the pace and roll like Janis Joplin with a mesmerising performance of I'd Rather Go Blind .
To my fresh ears, Beth won me over in every way, both as an artist and musician being true to herself while singing from the heart. Please don't leave it too long until you play Wales again Beth, your audience loved you!