Review: Ana Popovic – Oran Mor, Glasgow

Ben Poole image gallery here Serbian born but now based in the US, Ana Popovic took to the stage in a glorious, but sadly underused, manner; an old fashioned intro. Not a stereotypical Carl Orff ‘O Fortuna – Carmina Burana’ intro – I’m talking an old school Soul revue intro. The five piece band, including some horns, shimmied their way through a groove-alicious jam that saw each member take a brief moment in the spotlight. After a few minutes it’s “please welcome to the stage…Ana Popovic!”, and the headliner strides on and leads the band into a dazzling instrumental. The venue is a basement in an old church; it has a low ceiling and the stage has been extended outwards to give bands more room. The six musicians fill the stage, with Popovic using the front extension to her advantage by constantly getting closer to the crowd. On numerous occasions during the early onslaught, she steps in front of the monitors to dazzle everyone at close quarters. It’s a Blues audience, therefore it’s the guitar work on offer that is the most scrutinised. For the first hour or so of the set, Popovic is relentless. A mixture of fretboard fireworks, full-on solos and jams with other band members, including Michele Papadia on keys and bassist extraordinaire Buthel Bass. It’s not until she airs ‘Long Road Down’ that the pace lightens up and the audience can take a breath. ‘If Tomorrow Was Today’ continues the slower vibes with a fantastic mix of slide guitar, funky bass and the subtle brass work from Claudio Giovagnoli and Davide Ghidoni. Driving the band forwards is the man at the back, drummer Favor Goodiam. Popovic also has a very strong voice, like a cool Summer breeze blowing over you as you drive up the West coast of America during the ultimate road trip. ‘Unconditional’ begins with a totally chilled shuffle thanks to the smooth vocals, and along with ‘Summer Rain’ is a welcome tip of the hat to 2011’s album of the same name. Cover versions play key roles during the set. A sizzling version of Albert King’s ‘Can’t You See What You’re Doing To Me’ gets the butts wiggling and heads bobbing. The band brings a cocktail of Jazz and Blues to the Tom Waits classic ‘New Coat Of Paint’, and if you are going to cover Hendrix on ‘Crosstown Traffic’ then you need to nail it. Popovic certainly nails it. Her fingers fly up and down the guitar neck, but the speed doesn’t hamper the stunning tribute to, let’s face it, the King himself. Not what you might call an evening of traditional Blues. Heaps of Funk and Soul also thrown in, loads of emotive playing and, of course, lashings and lashings of six string fireworks. Ana Popovic image gallery here. Review – Dave Images – Dave Jamieson]]>

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