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Imelda May Live In The Olympia
Jeff Beck couldn't make it, but it was still a stormer!
The Hot Press Newsdesk, 21 Dec 2010
What a year it has been for Imelda May - from releasing her hugely successful album, Mayhem, to performing at the Grammy Awards - not to mention collaborating with the likes of Lou Reed and Jeff Beck, among many others. Add to that a non-stop bout of touring, with high profile festival headliners around the world, plus countless TV appearances, the pride of the Liberties certainly appears to have the world at her feet right now. And what better way to round it off than with four sold-out shows in her home town, literally yards from where she grew up? To say that there was a party atmosphere about the place would be an understatement - Imelda seems to bring out the sense of style in everyone. And while dressing up in a retro mode wasn’t mandatory it was certainly the choice of many in the audience tonight. Imelda herself was resplendent in a figure-hugging canary yellow dress that wouldn’t look out of place on Madmen, while the stage backdrop was one part juke-joint, one part 1950’s rock and roll TV show, with a little bit of Vegas. After an impressive support set from surf-punkers The Mighty Atomics, Imelda took to the stage and rocked the house from the off, with favourites like ‘Big Bad Handsome Man’ and 'Johnny’s Got A Boom Boom’ prompting an outbreak of jiving in the stalls.
“Do yiz want to hear some more rockabilly?” she asked at one point to an overwhelmingly positive response - cue a storming version of Johnny Burnette’s classic ‘Train Kept A Rollin''. Sadly guitar legend Jeff Beck, who was due to make an appearance, was snowed-in at Heathrow but in fairness no-one really cared and with guests like The Dubliners and Sharon Corr on hand there was more than enough to satisfy everyone.
She can rock and she can roll but she can also swoon and with its jazzy rhythm and muted trumpet, ‘All For You’ is a terrific ‘Stray Cat Strut’-style mid-tempo number while her gorgeous ballad, ‘Kentish Town Waltz’ is on a par with The Pogues’ ‘Rainy Night In Soho’ in its evocation of ex-pat loneliness in London.