That Joe Payne overcomes the odds, fights back against adversity and records a live show in the most challenging of times.
Release date: 25th June 2021
Format: CD & DVD/Bluray
We reviewed the By Name. By Nature album back in August of 2020 (review here) so are well aware of That Joe Payne. In fact, colours nailed to the mast, we’re going to drop the ‘That’ although it does give that identifiable element of notoriety.
A notoriety that should maybe come from a style that’s equally unique and striking and one which is showcased in all its full glory, pomp and ceremony to full effect (or as much as you can in the current situation) on this release.
Naturally, the gestation of the live Joe Payne extravaganza wasn’t easy. We can all appreciate why – do we need to say its name? – but the resulting audio-visual record is a triumph over adversity. It’s a record of a show performed at The Crescent Theatre in Birmingham in October 2020 (social distance guidelines in full force), the vaguely hybrid nature of which comes from some added rehearsal bits and audio stems to polish things off.
The package contains the full show on film plus the bonus of the tracks on an audio CD. It captures Joe fronting a classy and well-rehearsed band who are well versed in playing together with the likes of Ms Amy Birks and John Holden.
While the CD is a bonus, the film, literally, provides the main feature. A setlist built around the By Name By Nature album and a handful of cherry-picked career selections is delivered from a set that perfectly showcases the Payne penchant for theatricality and attention to detail in presntation. A precise and intricately planned set sees him showing off live renditions from the By Name. By Nature album. And he doesn’t just sing the songs – he performs them, making the most of a raised platform and threateningly steep ramp which he descends for the first time after making his entrance in a mysterious hooded robe.
With a little help from some friends and the technology, the whole experience is enhanced by the use of interaction with the visuals on the continually changing backdrop. Mesmerizing to the point of having to never take your eyes off the screen in case you blink and miss something. Fortunately, Ms Amy Birks hangs around long enough (virtually of course) to add her part to the exquisite Love (Not The Same). Thankfully too, concentration is allowed to relax as he takes centre stage to croon his way through the set or sit at the piano to add a musical touch.
The set is also liberally peppered with material from his time with John Holden, The Enid and Methexis and provides a kind of ‘best of’ celebration of Joe Payne. Joe Payne then and now (if you will…) but the one constant is the Payne voice which is so pure and rich, it would have Winnie The Pooh calling to find the name of his honey (or ‘hunny’) supplier. However, it may be that the best is saved until last, returning to The Enid landmark One And The Many for an uplifting encore.
An artist and a born showman; dare I say there could be a bit of Freddie Mercury chutzpah running through Joe’s veins? Certainly, some Mercury-esque ambition in the show which bleeds the cliche, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
As Joe acknowledges, the recording stands as a testament and as a record of how important the art and craft of live performance is to the artists. Fortunately, he’s such a master of the craft
Check out the stunning Capture Light from the video here: