Joan As Police Woman at Bristol Thekla - Monday 8th December
Joan As Police Woman, as any schoolboy knows, is actually the splendid singer and musician Joan Wasser, a sassy New Yorker and all round good egg with an interesting history and two stunning albums under her thrift store belt. Last Monday, backed by a drummer fellow and a bassist/guitarist fellow (both of whom oozed Big Apple attitude), Wasser produced a bewitching set. Bedecked uncompromisingly in silvery robe and sporting big, big, big hair, the chanteuse thrilled an older yet hip Bristol crowd with all the numbers from this year’s To Survive album and many favourites from her sumptuous debut, Real Life. I’d recommend both these recordings to all hepcats. The songs are all achingly melodic, arranged classily, and underpinned by Wasser’s remarkable voice, part Joni Mitchell, part, er, Karen Carpenter, but, in essence, truly special. Her compositions sounded all the more compelling in the intimate environs of the Thekla (‘twas my debut at the merry boat-based venue) and I have rarely encountered such a hushed and respectful gathering. All loved Wasser and loudly indicated a collective glee at every opportunity.
The Coles celebrated by purchasing a Joan As Police Woman oven glove before leaving the auditorium. The artist herself signed said mitten for us and we spoke briefly. Her friendliness to all and sundry was noted and admired but not as much as her musical prowess and ability to captivate an audience with wondrous acts. Hurrah.