Joan As Police Woman | Review
The Black Box, Belfast • Tuesday 14 August ’18
Words: Chantelle Frampton • Photos: Marta Janiszewska
Joan as Police Woman is one of the edgiest and exciting artists on the music scene right now. Her impeccable voice mixed with her eclectic, soul-searching music and honest lyrics is nothing short of remarkable. On Tuesday night she brought her Damned Devotion tour to the intimate venue, Black Box. The night was quite simply an absolute treat for all who attended as we were able to enjoy faultless music and catch a glimpse into the fun personality of Joan Wasser.
The night started with Belfast based singer Peter J. McCauley. Peter’s set was very simple and understated as he sat at his keyboard and sang to us. However, he did not require a big set behind him as his voice was the focal point. Each song he performed was mesmerising and thought-provoking, ‘borders’ was a particular highlight for me. He set a very relaxed and intimate vibe and was a wonderful support to Joan as Police Woman.
The venue had very quickly packed out and the crowd was becoming more anxious and excited to see our main headliner for the evening. Joan as Police Woman and her band suddenly walked through the crowd and jumped onto the stage, all in matching tour jackets. Her glittery gold jumpsuit hit the lights perfectly before she went into the first track of the evening, ‘Wonderful’.
The first three songs of the night were ‘Wonderful’, ‘Warning Bell’ and ‘Tell Me’, which also happen to be the opening tracks of the album Damned Devotion. There was a moment where the prospect of the album being performed in order and in its entirety was possible. This would have by no means been a negative as it is arguably her album so far. This was, however, not the case as the setlist began to diverge and we were introduced to a variety of new tracks and older gems.
From the outset Joan let her funny personality shine through. As her music can be so thought-provoking it was refreshing to see the playful side to her on stage. Her presence on the stage was unrivalled as she swapped between instruments, including the keyboard, guitar, tambourine and a gold, glitter violin that was featured during the older track, ‘Christobel’. If she wasn’t singing she was dancing and getting into the music.
The evening was filled with laughter, banter as well as sad and reflective moments. There was an instance in which Joan introduced her track ‘What Was It Like’ as a song about “dads”. She explained that her father had passed away a few years ago. Instantly the drummer, Parker Kindred, was presented as a new father. The crowd cheered and clapped in congratulations before the incredibly emotive song began. One line that was truly resonating was “I could never see what passing judgment on anybody else would ever do for me”. I can almost guarantee that the whole audience was listening to this song and thinking about their own fathers or father-like figures. It’s amazing how quickly she can change the dynamic of the entire room in an instance.
Whilst the set was flawless it was not in any robotic and it felt incredibly personal to the Belfast crowd. Joan was consistently reminding us how happy she was to be there and how much she appreciated us coming down on a Tuesday evening. The banter with the crowd and with the band on set demonstrated that everyone was having genuinely having fun. Even when the mic fell during ‘I defy’ she made a joke and continued with the song after fixing it.
The night ended with the famous ‘Magic’ before singing a cover of Prince’s ‘Kiss’. The crowd was singing along and dancing as everyone on stage was truly feeling the music. Joan as Police Woman provided an evening that will undoubtedly be remembered and cherished by all that were in Black Box.