Following a triumphant show at last year’s SummerTyne Americana Festival, Imelda May makes a welcome return to Tyneside.

A capacity crowd is in attendance at the Sage Gateshead this evening to witness Imelda May’s return.

This phenomenal vocalist most certainly doesn’t do things in halves having completely reinvented herself in recent times, with both a new image and a fresh sound to boot.

Imelda May released her critically acclaimed fifth studio record Life Love Flesh Blood earlier this year, which immediately soared straight into the top 5 of the Official UK Chart. This album is also the Irish chanteuse’s most autobiographical and deeply personal release to date.

As the house lights dim the sounds of the Velvet Underground’s “Venus In Furs” resonates around the room. Joined onstage by her incredible seven-piece band, Imelda appears perched on a chair at the front of the stage, and breaks into a heartfelt rendition of “Call Me”. 

Imelda May’s latest offering has obviously been very liberating for the artist, allowing her to break the shackles of her traditional Rockabilly sound and explore new ground and musical styles. Subsequently, May takes the opportunity tonight to perform the lion’s share of her new record with eleven tracks featuring in the initial two-thirds of the show.

During the show Imelda May makes her vocal performance seem effortless, there really is no holding her back, particularly during the likes of the funky and soulful “Bad Habit” and “Should’ve Been You”.

In the light of the tragic recent terror attack at the MEN Arena, Imelda delivers an emotionally charged rendition of “Love and Fear”; closing the number with a dedication of ‘Here’s to Manchester, Here’s to love’.

Throughout the course of the evening, each song is accompanied by the insightful story behind it. Following a recent divorce from her thirteen-year marriage, Imelda grapples with familiar subjects to most such as love and heartbreak, which everyone can relate to.

Life Love Flesh Blood has won over a whole new group of fans for Imelda May; they intermingle with her distinctive Rockabilly crowd. There’s a real sense of community in the room this evening. Of course, concerts bring people together in a celebration of live music and Imelda asks the audience to connect and introduce themselves to those seated around them, which adds a nice touch to the proceedings.

Despite the emphasis on Imelda’s latest offering, there’s still room for old favourites like “Wild Woman”, “Mayhem” and the anthemic “Johnny’s Got a Boom Boom”, which each, in turn, is greeted with cheers and feverish dancing from the Geordie faithful.

Imelda brings her almost two-hour genre-defying show to its conclusion with the country rock tinged number “Game Changer”. The huge-sounding track has a fierce pounding rhythm and is packed full of infectious hooks, which you can’t help but get swept away by. Following which Imelda May take her bows before leaving the stage to a standing ovation.

Imelda May’s new album sounds fantastic, but to witness these numbers performed live is really something else. In a concert setting these songs really come alive as Imelda’s beautiful voice fills this acoustically perfect room at the Sage Gateshead.

We look forward to more of what is to come as this new chapter in the Dublin-based singer’s career unfolds.

Imelda May
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Event Date: 26-MAY-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

Related Posts