Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Imelda May at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Born Imelda Clabby in Dublin, Ireland, the woman who would later be known professionally as Imelda May was by age 16 singing in bands and was occasionally barred from her own shows for being underage. She formed her own band in 2002, and in 2003 released her debut album, initially under her maiden name. After the release, May relocated with her then-husband, guitarist Darrel Higham, to London, England. Best known for her rockabilly revival styled music, she won the Best Female Artist of the Year award at the 2009 Meteor Awards and Album of the Year at the 2010 RTÉ Radio 1 Awards. Her fifth and most recent studio album, Life. Love. Flesh. Blood, was released on April 7, 2017.

Forget most everything you have heard about Imelda May. At Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom tonight, she revealed her new identity. She not only divorced her husband in 2015, she also divorced her rockabilly sound and look. Long, dark bangs and shoulder length hair have replaced her signature bi-colored pompadour and ponytail, and a black hole-pocked modern outfit replaced her tight vintage dresses. Her band similarly rocked with a classic rock sound, with the two guitarists only occasionally retreating to rockabilly licks, and her bassist only briefly playing an acoustic double bass. The set comprised all 11 songs from her new album, one song each from two of her previous albums, and several cover songs. The only sacred area left untouched was May's tremendous vocal ability, which soared on rock, blues and torch songs. With a powerful range that still occasionally channeled Patsy Cline and Billie Holliday, the bulk of her set was more akin to Pretenders or Fleetwood Mac. May may find a wider audience to wow with this material, but older fans will miss the old May.

Visit Imelda May at www.imeldamay.co.uk.

Setlist:
  1. Call Me
  2. When It's My Time
  3. Human
  4. Sixth Sense
  5. Big Bad Handsome Man
  6. Bad Habit
  7. Love & Fear
  8. How Bad Can a Good Girl Be
  9. Black Tears
  10. Flesh & Blood
  11. Should've Been You
  12. Leave Me Lonely
  13. The Longing
  14. Mayhem
  15. I'm Crying (The Animals cover)
  16. Johnny
  17. Girls U Used To Be
Encore:
  1. Remember (Walking in the Sand) (The Shangri-Las cover)
  2. Game Changer > Teenage Kicks (The Undertones cover)