Imelda May performing her Tribal Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Sunday 7th December 2014

Images and Review by  Kevin Cooper

The spirits of Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent must have been looking down from that big Be-Bop-A-Lula in the sky because there was a whole lotta shaking going on at The Royal Concert Hall last night.

Sporting her trademark rolled quiff, the feisty Imelda May slinked onto the stage a little late, to a rapturous reception and opened with the title of her latest album, Tribal. Although her music is reasonably difficult to pigeon hole, there were obvious nods to admitted influences rockabilly, blues, 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll and soul, in a set which set the stage on fire from the off.

New track Wild Woman was followed by Big Bad Handsome Man, which is presumably a tribute to May’s Husband, Darrel Higham, also her immaculate guitarist. It featured superb trumpet from the multi-talented Dave Priseman, rippling double bass from Al Gare and fabulous drum playing from Steve Rushton. Whilst mid song banter from May was reasonably rare, preferring the method of launching from one number to the next, the set was breathless, thrilling and seriously impressive. She simply scorched her way through Love Tattoo, Five Good Men and Hellfire Club.

There were covers too, giving clues to May’s musical heritage. The bluesy Spoonful, famously performed by Howlin’ Wolf, was a sleazy and raucous romp. Gare changed to electric bass when the second half turned more rock ‘n’ roll with tunes such as Zombie Girl and Road Runner. There was the audience sing along with Its Good To Be Alive, before the set was closed with her very popular, Johnny Got A Boom Boom.

For the encore, Gare changed to ukulele and with just him and May perched on his up turned double bass. They delivered a spine tingling rendition of Cher’s Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), and a superior version of Blondie’s Dreaming. It was in these moments that one could fully appreciate the rich talent and unique style of the wonderfully quirky, Imelda May.

But this show wouldn’t dare end on a whimper, not even a lovely one. Before she left the stage she closed with Right Amount Of Wrong, but on this performance it was hard to imagine that this woman could do wrong if she tried.