Wednesday, 5 February 2020: Beth Hart – Brighton Dome.
Beth Hart is an American singer, songwriter and musician from Los Angeles, California. She rose to fame with the release of her 1999 single “LA Song (Out of This Town)” from her second album Screamin’ for My Supper. The single was a number one hit in New Zealand, as well as reaching the top 5 of the US Adult Contemporary and Top 10 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 charts.
Subsequent albums namely Seesaw and Live in Amsterdam by Hart and Joe Bonamassa debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart, a chart she has now topped six times. Hart has had two number 1 singles in Denmark, “As Good as It Gets” and “Learning to Live”, as well a double platinum-selling album, Leave the Light On.
Beth Hart: vocals, mini piano
Jon Nichols: electric and acoustic guitars
Bill Ransom: on drums and percussion
Tom Lilly: bass guitar
The Brighton Dome had filled up nicely for this event and I quite literally bumped into Jeff Beck in the drinks area! It was good to see the merch desk was busy as some good T Shirts and audio releases were available for purchase.
Now dear reader, its confession time, Beth Hart was totally new to me….. yeah I know. But the almost full to capacity Brighton Dome knew about her! It was a seated evening and I spotted only a couple of empty seats.
The busy tour the guys are on is to promote the latest album, her ninth, War In My Mind. She is touring the UK through February 2020 before heading to Europe and then continuing in the USA.
The lights dimmed slightly and the “candles” on stage all flickered in the subdued lighting. A lone guitarist dressed in black took to the stage and slung an acoustic around his neck, Jon Nichols. No fuss he just got to work creating a beautiful rich sound. He played for a minute or two as all eyes were fixed on the stage watching him play and also peering into the darkness to catch the first sight of Beth Hart.
A voice came from somewhere…. but where? It then became clear she was in the crowd. There In Your Heart was delivered up close and personal by Beth Hart as she mingled and posed for a few photos with the crowd. Terrific start. She had everyone’s attention.
Beth climbed barefoot onto the stage after stopping off for a quick hug, whilst continuing to sing, with husband Scott. Delightful.
It was really something special I was witnessing tonight as Beth from time to time would sit on the edge of the Dome stage and relate tales of her troubled times spanning many years. She told us about those drink battles against addiction and mental illness. This was something new to me to hear someone truly talk in such an environment with 100% openness and honesty. I guess that, along with her heady music is what makes Beth such an endearing character and performer. She pours everything into every song. There was real warmth and love for this lady from the crowd in the venue.
Now dear reader as a photographer you usually get to photo the first three songs. I, and another photographer lost track of the songs due to the enthralling and captivating performance. Was that three songs? The songs seemed to just melt into each other. Then Beth asked everyone to get up and dance, reluctantly at first, but up they got. I got blocked by folk dancing for Lifts You Up. So I took a few more pics, I am still not sure if that was song three or four. I guess it was song number 4. This is a great rock out tune with some strong guitars, the vibrato that Beth inflects on the vocals is quite extraordinary.
Songs by candle light…
A shout to the band as Jon Nicholls totally owned it tonight with some truly great guitar playing. The bass and drums were working in perfect unison. And the sound mix was extraordinary and so uplifting as Beth sat at her piano with those mini flickering candles decorating it. Away from the ballads was the super Baby Shot Me Down, a funky, with some delightful bass playing, and blues tune that had the crowd up.
Beth and her piano delivered a highlight for me with Mama This One’s for You. Beth Hart tonight proved she has it all and she ranges from a blues-rocker with fire to someone who crosses over to pop and anthemic ballads. Her music is stunning. The title track of her album War In My Mind was up and it seems to convey an acceptance of the journey she has been on, and the subject matter that she talked about during the set. This song as it flowed and filled the auditorium really did showcase her fabulous full vocal range.
And so the end of the set. This had been a night of true roller-coaster emotions and musical styles. It was all beautifully put together. All the material tonight, both old and new, confirms Beth Hart as a quite remarkable songwriter and performer. She can put down anthems and ballads across different styles. And that is quite unique when you add her pure vocals into the mix.
A track from the new album Woman Down and the beautiful Thankful ended the evening.
Thank you Beth Hart. I feel somehow that I know you now. You did that by inviting me and the hundreds of other people to share your night, your life, your trials and your music. At times it felt as if you had popped in for a chat with us over a cup of coffee. It was quite unique. It worked like a charm. The whole night was totally engaging.
Sometimes the smallest, or indeed the simplest of words, can capture and sum up a performance. For this performance Beth Hart, the word that popped into my head was “WOW”. You wowed us all tonight.
Keep in touch with Beth Hart on the WWW
Beth Hart is also on Facebook
Kris Barras Duo
A superb choice of guests to start the night. Kris Barras and Josiah J Manning. The two took to the stage to a warm welcome from the Brighton crowd. Kris said hello to us all and explained he might be a little quieter than we might normally recognise and be used to. He explained only half the band were with us tonight, a duo. One of the UK’s breakout artists over the last 18 months, the Kris Barras Band have had a whirlwind rise which has seen them sell out a string of dates across their biggest headline tour to date in October 2019.
A wonderful 30 minutes of stripped back acoustic music was delivered from these two. Some six songs played for us. We were truly treated to great guitar playing with some searing vocals. And there was a fair bit of humour shared between the guys during breaks and also whilst Josiah re tuned his guitar.
A brilliant 30 minutes guys. Look forward to seeing you return with the full band real soon. Kris mentioned that there would be no powering electric guitar riffs tonight, well these songs were terrific and I for one would love to hear them with the full band backing them up.
You can find Kris Barras on the WWW right here
Thanks to the wonderful team and staff at Brighton Dome. They really do work hard to make sure you have a great night out.
Thanks to Brighton and Hove News music team.
Please note all original images / video are copyright, please do not copy. If any of the featured artists/promoters/venues want copies of the images – or more if available – please just get in touch.
All original pictures / video – copyright to IANB/MEDIA WORKS/ SCENE SUSSEX – Ian “The Lens” Bourn 2019.
Got an event coming up? Need some gig photography, promo shots, previews or reviews? – please get in touch! See you down the front – come and say “hi!”