Brooklyn-based blues chanteuse Sari Schorr arrives at Darlington Rhythm and Blues Club to perform at the club’s landmark 500th show marking its 21st-anniversary.
Earlier this month, Schorr released her debut album A Force of Nature, which has been a lifetime in the making. Famed producer, Mike Vernon (Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, and Eric Clapton), came out of semi-retirement to take the helm in the control room for the record.
Joining Sari is her uber talented four-piece band, The Engine Room, which includes none other than Innes Siburn on guitar (Robert Plant), Kev Jefferies on bass, Kevin Oâ€™ Rourke on drums, and Anders Olinder on keyboards.
A lot of buzz has surrounded Sari Schorr since she first stepped foot in the UK. Her debut album was the highest new entry in the Official Jazz & Blues Albums Chart Top 30 this week. It is no surprise, given her rapid rise in popularity, she is playing in front of a full house as the blues faithful of the North East descend upon Darlington.
As you would expect, the show centres around Schorr’s debut album with a few surprises thrown in along the way. It is immediately apparent that Schorr has many layers to her performance and songwriting, and over the course of the evening, those layers peel away. She grapples with dark subject matters, such as drug abuse during powerful numbers like “Aunt Hazel” or domestic violence on “Damn The Reason”.
Sari meanders through some of her influences as she belts out the likes of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock And Roll”, Lead Belly’s “In The Pines”, or “Black Betty” which was the first single released from A Force of Nature. Schorr’s phenomenal vocal range is enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up; she completely loses herself in the music. There is also real chemistry between Schorr and Innes Siburn, the pair playing off each other all night long.
Tracks from A Force of Nature like the groove-heavy “Cat and Mouse” and the incredibly retro “Oklahoma” stands out in the set. The latter of which turns into quite an epic, with Siburn and Olinder duelling with guitar and keyboard. The song is reminiscent of The Doors.
The audience enjoyed a sublime cover of T-Bone Walker’s “Call It Stormy Monday,” which she explains is a song they don’t usually play. The track features some powerful vocals from Schorr who hits those sustained high notes and effortlessly holds on to them. Siburn delivers some passionate playing and the song also features an incredible keyboard solo from Olinder.
The show closes with Schorr’s take on The Supreme’s “Stop In The Name of Love” and the beautifully humble number, “Ordinary Life”.
Having witnessed Sari Schorr first-hand tonight, it would be easy to draw a comparison with Beth Hart; you will be hard pushed to find another vocalist quite like her. It’s easy to understand why Sari would name her group “The Engine Room”, as they provide both fire and driving rhythm which perfectly accompany Schorr’s incredible voice. Believe the hype; Sari Schorr is all of it and more.