Saturday 9th April 2011
Review and photograph by
Following a favorable review from our own publication a few weeks ago
for her album, I found myself one of many people who came to FACT last
Saturday to see Jo Bywater perform her music. The same crowds of new and
familiar faces who've been breaking attendance records packed the gallery
for Jo’s performance and it was not without cause.
If you’ve listened to her album you’ll be aware of her honest,
gritty, tell-it-all sound that evokes the spirit of any number of blues
guitarists such as Kelly Joe Phelps or P.J. Harvey's now occasional musical
roar and singer songwriters such as the innovative touches reminiscent
of early Ani DiFranco and of course herself. That same
no-nonsense approach found on the album is present with the live set too
and the music was the perfect accompaniment to the venue’s intimate
lighting, bringing out the innate poetry of her words.
Indeed, from nowhere people seemed to appear and soon there was an appreciative
audience surrounding the corner where the eponymous banner of People Not
Profit hung. It all happened suddenly as she launched into a set full
of excellent guitar playing; amusing asides on diverse topics as the queue's
at Central Station and the merits of a set list; the rough hewn singing
that really brought the meaning of the song’s lyrics out into the
open, shivering and shining from exposure to the truthful light. Noting
her use of a set list for the first time in a while; whilst maintaining
the magic spontaneity of all good live music, she played a selection of
songs from her recently released album and the audience – an ever
growing one by virtue of the gallery’s open and friendly doors –
were there all the way.
Songs such as her recent single Wave, with its sparse arrangement and
inspirational suggestions of ‘catching a wave’ caught a peak
and maintained it leaving many people a happy experience of both the artist
herself and our little space! If you can’t catch her live soon,
have a listen to her album. You won’t regret it!