Soul. You either got it or you ain't. Last night, after a strong opening set from Adam Isaac (laid back, acoustic soul with a JK / Buckley tinge), Ms Stone showed - once and for all - that she's got it by the bucket load. Joss is probably the biggest star to play The Rainbow so far, perhaps she always will be. The place was rammed but not uncomfortable, with a nice mix of people and, as ever, a decent atmosphere. Team Joss had pretty much bought everything with them (new lighting, a mixing desk, cuddly toy, kitchen sink, roof, walls...that sort of thing) so the place looked a little different, but it was still a world away from the enormodomes that she's probably used to. It didn't phase her though. In fact I heard a rumour that she'd asked for the crowd barrier at the front of the stage to be removed just so she could be closer to the audience. No diva tantrums here. I'd not seen her live since Glasto a few years back, but the voice...and down to earth attitude...are still both firmly in place. No sign of the American accent that had crept but, to be honest, I wouldn't have cared if it had been there. It's the singing voice I'm interested in. A belter it is too, but not in a Mariah Carey, 'look at what I can do' way. It really is soulful, straight from the gut and with the same sense of passion you'd get from a classic Motown or Stax artist. I got a touch (no, not in that way...pervs) of Randy (steady now) Crawford too, rather than the Dusty that I've heard some people compare her to. Still sticking with the barefoot look and wearing just a simple white dress she looked like an artist reborn (perhaps signalling a return to the more stripped back feel of her debut album?), getting back to her roots (speaking of which I think she's back to her natural hair colour too?...oh jeez I'm turning into Gok Wan). For the trainspotters out there I got a shot of the full set list...there you go.
Not a duff moment in the whole set. The new material (in particular Free Me) stood up really well to the older stuff. Nice to be reminded of just how good that White Stripes reworking, Fell In Love With A Boy is...and Super Duper Love - soul heaven. A nice bit of relaxed between song banter too. Joss made some comment about men not asking girls out anymore and someone shouted, Brummie stylee 'Fancy a curry luv?' I don't think she took him up on his offer but who knows...if you're that mystery man and things clicked over a madras and table naan let me know. Really impressed with the band too. I believe the horn section had worked with the godfather of soul himself, Mr James Brown. That's musical royalty in my book. It was, all in all, a top night and the good folk of promoters Kamikaze! couldn't have done a better job either. To paraphrase our curry loving friend, "Simply Super Duper, luv".