US multi-instrumentalist Joan Wasser is no household name but has built up a cult reputation as an idiosyncratic player of distinction over the past couple of decades, first with Antony & the Johnsons, then with Rufus Wainwright and particularly since striking out on her own in her Angie Dickinson-inspired guise Joan As Police Woman.
Glasgow School of Art ***
Yet here she was in collaboration once again, this time with Benjamin Lazar Davis of alt.country band Okkervil River. Though he could not hope to compete with Wasser for stage presence, he was an eager, bobbly-headed presence with a lovely, light complementary tenor vocal.
The pair looked a treat in their matching utilitarian jumpsuits, although there was nothing production line about the sound they made, which confidently referenced a variety of styles.
On this first night of their tour, they were still warming to the task ahead in somewhat haphazard style, yet Wasser’s charisma and natural ability held interest across a predominantly mid-paced set, drawing mainly on their new electronica-slanted album, Let It Be You.
There was a laid back groove to many of the songs, although individual tracks were dynamic enough to catch the ear, with little sonic quirks such as some crunchy clipped guitar work from Ryan Dugre. The electro funk blues prowl of Save Me showed off Wasser’s expressive vocal and a brief solo slot featured pindrop moments on keyboards and guitar before the full band returned to deliver heady soul epic Station.