Monday, 12 September 2011
I went with my friend to see Joan As Police Woman in London this weekend. We both agreed that there is something mystical about her live performance. It is incredibly intense and all-absorbing. She manages that perfect combination of capturing everything I love about her recorded music (some of which I describe in this post) and yet making it new in the moment of performance.
She is incredibly present and alive as she sings and plays. It's not only moving; it also makes her astoundingly beautiful and cool. The only other performer I know who achieves this kind of intensity is the extraordinary Patti Smith.
I saw Joan play once before and this gig was completely different. Some of her new songs have a more rocky, sexy edge. Strangely, a decision was made (by whom I know not) to change the layout from standing to seating at the last minute, yet this was Joan As Police Woman that made us want to dance and move! At one point she told us we could still dance in our seats, making an incredible, idiosyncratic swaying gesture with her upper body that made us collectively laugh and tingle, and wish we could dance like that in our seats!
She and her band had been on the road since January without a break and I thought I could feel the tiredness somehow, in her voice that sounded no less beautiful but perhaps slightly strained. And yet at the end, for her final song, her voice seemed to float out from her body, bringing with it her soul. We were all standing, mesmerised, transformed.