CONCERT REVIEW : BETH HART – THE ARMADILLO, GLASGOW 7TH MARCH 2023

Blues singer Beth Hart is a survivor. She’s survived a troubled a youth, in which her father, a bail bondsman, did time in prison. Later, her brother passed away due to AIDS. Stardom did not come easily for her; she’s battled mental illness in the form of bipolar disorder and major addictions to drugs and alcohol.

A native of Los Angeles, Hart was something of a musical prodigy, learning the piano at a young age and showing an early, exceptional singing talent. She attended a magnet school for the arts, where studied musical performance. In the early ’90s, she had her first taste of success, winning the singing competition on Star Search, but that success was fleeting. It was a number of years before she tasted chart success with her first big hit, “L.A. Song.” Her family trauma and addictions had been mounting, however, and as she told the audience at the Warner Theatre on Feb. 24, she couldn’t handle it, and she “went off the rails.”

The next roughly decade-plus was a rough go for Beth, who, with the help of her husband and road manager, Scott, battled her addictions. At the start of last decade, she began to gain a foothold with a number of collaborations, first with Slash, then with blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa, with whom she recorded several albums. These projects revitalised her career as a solo performer.

Showtime – The lights went down and spotlight shone at the rear of The Armadillo as the lady of the hour made her way down the aisle, hugging people along the way while singing. She then stepped on stage, looking like a sultry panther as she glided across the stage, belting out songs with raw, unabashed emotion and soul. She tossed her hair, squatted in front of the drums, and traded glances with longtime drummer Bill Ransom and guitarist Jon Nichols.

Beth Hart has a voice that is like that of no other and she puts her soul out on stage for every single performance.

  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023
  • Beth Hart - Armadillo Glasgow 7th March 2023

While showing off her impressive contralto vocal range, she sprinkled in stories about the meaning behind her songs. These stories included getting to know the catalog of Led Zeppelin, the relationship with her father, mental health, and the love for her husband of almost 21 years.

Hart was clearly into it, shaking and projecting every note out of her body like a woman possessed. Throughout the performance, she strutted back and forth across the stage, at times kneeling, back-bending and crouching, then sitting in a lotus position at the edge of the stage, she belted out song after song with the emotion of a spiritual revival.

A very accomplished pianist, Hart accompanied the band while singing blues-rock songs and ballads.Hart’s band, made up of Bill Ransom (drums) Jon Nicholls (guitar) and Tom Lilly (bass), was immaculate and the chemistry between the four artists was evident throughout the entire evening. Hart’s performance was emotionally charged and she exudes sexuality and confidence.

During the evening, whilst sitting comfy on edge of the stage. She made the audience feel like friends. One could feel her vulnerability as she discussed her past experience with drugs, eating disorders, and abusive men whilst praising her longtime husband/manager Scott Guetzkow who supported her through personal ups and downs.

Hart’s banter with the audience is so pure. She spoke of the way she was trying to stop smoking, taking time to acknowledge just how damned difficult it is to kick the habit and showing us the small bamboo tube that her husband Scott cut’s from neighbours bushes to occasionally inhale through and wave as though it were a cigarette. All the while, making us feel like we were in a living room with her, not an auditorium. It’s this kind of performance that others simply cannot achieve.

When an artist can bring out their soul in a live setting and literally hands it to you, that is what’s most special about being there live. Intimacy and honesty, as well as a wealth of talent, are what make singer Beth Hart one of these artists. She has the gift of making you feel like she’s an old friend, someone whose thought’s includes you in on what she is thinking and feeling at that moment. I cannot think of many artists that possess this combination of talent in the way she can, at least consistently.

What you get is an honest, in-your-face, fantastic performance from a musician who has the talent and focus to bring you into her world and make you forget about all the negativity going on outside and beyond. In other words, it was exactly what I was hoping for and received.

I truly cannot think of a contemporary singer/songwriter today who evokes both the vulnerability and authenticity in songwriting as well as performance as she does.

Review & Photographs by Stuart Stott

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