Life, Love, Flesh, Blood is the title of Imelda May’s newest album, and Life, Love, Flesh and Blood is exactly what the Irish songstress is putting into her current tour.
Since trading in her rockabilly wardrobe for a more understated and sophisticated look, the singer has been radiating a newfound sense of confidence and entitlement, embracing the powerful new direction her music has taken her in. Seeing her live is a joy; she emits infectious empowerment and a brilliant energy sweeps over the London Palladium crowd as soon as takes centrestage.
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Over the course of the evening Imelda flits between gospel girl gone grunge and seductive jazz club starlet, owning the stage in her sexy ensemble of an oversized t-shirt dress and thigh-high, leather Louboutins. She kicked off a set-list of tingle inducing tunes with her most recent single, Call Me. The melancholic melody has a sad and rather public subtext, written in the wake of her recent break up. Even the hardest of hearts would have a tough time denying the tenderness of her performance.
But that’s where the sadness starts and ends, with the singer proceeding to perform a barrage of belters from her new album, a record which combines her love of jazz, rockabilly, folk and blues. The end result is an easy on the ears, perfectly packaged, and frankly timeless, pop record.
A talent like Imelda’s is unquestionable, but it is her ability to tap into everyday tales of life and love, repackaging them in a way that resonates with fans of all shapes and sizes. Both beautifully poetic and emotionally stirring, Imelda is a truly talented songwriter. Simple artistry such as hers requires zero bells and whistles, her vocal prowess dominates the stage and qualifies her to a superstar league – eliminating any need for extravagant stage production. The Dublin star could be stood alone on a dimly lit stage and she would still have the entire room captivated, hanging on her every note.
Imelda urged the audience to get up and out of their seats for the final segment of the show, providing a time machine back to her rockier times. Her 2014 hit song ‘Wild Woman’ lit a fire in the bellies of the true Imelda fans in attendance.
The inclusion of a talented live band complete with giant double bass and several guitarists, added a real finesse to the night’s proceedings. Making sure she had thanked and celebrated each and every member of her band and crew, Imelda graciously exited the stage.
Retracing those steps just moments later, surrendering to the audience’s pleas of “just one more”, she stripped it back for one last performance. Accompanied by one other bandmate, Imelda softly and soulfully serenaded the audience with a final rendition of “The Girl I Used To Be”. She had every audience member up on their before finally leaving the London stage for good.