Not quite NYPD
Smokey voiced and quirky (her, not me for once) I spent most of the evening distracted with wondering if she sounds any different in the throes of passion than on stage. And that is not because I am one of Joan's multitudes of thronging hipster lesbian fans. But, rather because her inter-song banter is distractingly laden with OTT sultriness replete with contrived fits of self-conscious horsy giggles. But when you are not wondering if she is not just Beth Orton down a sex line, her singer-songwriter material is powerful and original. A lot of her sensual howlings decorate songs in a manner reminiscent of subdued Antony and the Johnsons crossed with clamorous Nina Simone. Arresting stuff from the police woman.
Disappointingly, the venue was less impressive. The Front Room is basically just that: a front for a real room. The stage is set up in makeshift fashion in the foyer of the QEH: part coat check, part concert hall. Like the National Theatre's large, outdoor, informal summer stage; but small, indoors and quite winter season formal. A near replica (if not splitting hairs).
Check out Joan on MySpace here or take the plunge and buy her soulful new CD, 'Real Life', here.