Joseph Arthur ( 27/07/05 Liverpool Academy) - Live Review
( 27/07/05 Liverpool Academy)
There has been an unpublished competition for bands; it seems, at gigs this year to have the most flamboyant and impressive backdrop. Joseph elected for simplicity by way of a large flip pad sketch of two invertebrate lovers (as far as this untrained eye can tell).He was accompanied on stage by his plug in acoustic guitar, a powerful harmonica and his enigmatic personality. He paraded numbers spanning his entire career with songs from the albums ‘Our Shadows Will Remain’ and ‘Redemption’s Son’ helping to decorate an invigorating set. The cumulative effect of his vocals, harmonica, guitar and backing tape brought to mind contemporaries Ray Lamontagne and Badly Drawn Boy, as well as the older influences of Bob Dylan, Joe Henryand Tom Waits.
Arthur’s brusque vocals would linger in the air like cigarette smoke, as the whole crowd were fixated onthe artistand his background sketch. ‘I Would Rather Hide’was ahighlight of a long and earnest journey into the mindset of this Akron, Ohio performer. Live favourite ‘ Echo Park’ towards the end of the set,saw Joseph pick up pace like a middle distance runner on hearing the bell. The coup de grace to the evening occurred when Arthur reached for his paint bottles and in true Rolf Harris spirit; started transforming his black and white sketch into an iridescent collage of dazzling obscurity, while his obscure backing tapes provided the soundtrack. The only surprise was that he never felt the urge to say;