Belfast, The Ulster Hall an iconic venue in the heart of the city is graced by one of the finest female vocalists in the game today. The whirlwind that is Beth Hart has rolled into town and a sold-out Ulster Hall is here to welcome here with open arms. Hart has forged a reputation as one of the best in the business, as some would say she could sing the phone book and if it was ever true of an artist it is true of Beth Hart.
In support Hart has local heroes The Davy Watson Band, one of Northern Ireland’s unsung musical heroes and best kept secrets, Watson has toured with the likes of Phil Lynott and Bob Geldof, worked extensively in L.A with global artists and our own Vivian Campbell and he brings his wealth of experience tonight to the Ulster Hall in an acoustic performance rich in Bluesy quality and dripping in musical richness. A stunning all-round musician Watson has the audience hook line and sinker from the opening song and they never leave his side throughout the whole performance. The roars of the crowd as each song closes is a tribute to the quality resonating from the stage and the warm welcome the Ulster Hall has embraced the band. A short but sweet set warms up the crowd for what will no doubt be a stellar night’s entertainment.
9 pm Sharp the lights drop and one by one Harts band take to the stage as the Ulster Hall erupts! I can see Beth stage side taking one last drink of water before gracing the stage, Immediately you know exactly what you’re in for, as Hart’s voice is mesmerizing from the off, the most sublime sultry tone and range just takes your breath away. Hart’s back catalog is gargantuan as she is one seriously prolific songwriter if she is not working through solo projects she is collaborating alongside the likes of six-string slinger Joe Bonamassa, so there is no shortage of material to fill her time tonight. And as a true pro-Beth takes her audience on a veritable rollercoaster as each song pushes and pulls at the crowd down below with high octane energetic numbers and deep slow emotive beauties.
A wealth of personal experience to pull on Hart’s songwriting covers such a vast array of topics and she pours her heart and souls into each and every one. If she is not sitting behind the piano slamming on the ivory’s she is perched on the edge of the stage embracing her fans. She’s as chilled as you’ll find lying at the front of the stage using her stool to support her as she interacts sharing her stories. She’s a very personable and relatable artist, hence her vastly wide appeal, as real as they come.
Hart talks about the cathartic prices of her songwriting and how where one song starts it often takes her in a totally and often surprising direction, and from her flows the most beautiful lyrics and emotive performances you likely see this year. Performing solo with a guitar in hand or behind the piano she effortlessly makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room. You could honestly get swept up in her charism and sweet charm, as she retorts story after story of an absolutely fascinating journey she has been on through life, as an artist, as an addict and as a daughter and sister battling all her demons and how the music eventually triumphed and how every day she is grateful it did. The two hour set flys by and before you know it she is being shouted at stage left to call it a night, but not before dedicating one last song to her fans in the room as she once again sends chills down the spines of each and everyone in this iconic venue.
A masterclass in musical excellence, a lifetimes experience of good and bad weaved into the most extraordinary performance and an awe-inspiring individual to project it to the masses, if you ave yet to pick up a ticket to a Beth Hart tour, it is an absolute must.
Review & Photography // Mark McGrogan
@flashartmark // #flashartmark
Check Out Our Review of Beth’s Latest Offering: