Tami Neilson was back in Christchurch again after her recent gig at The Wunderbar back in February, this time for a gig as part of the local Jazz and Blues festival that was running for the week ending on the 29th May. I was wondering what Tami was doing playing in a Jazz and Blues festival but didn't really care as I just wanted to take the opportunity to see her play again after the excellent gig in February.
We arrived at the "Cardboard" Cathedral at around 7PM, after a lovely Korean meal in the central city. The place was still only partially full and we managed to get front row seats as nobody else seemed all that keen to be front row. The sound system wasn't all that large and I was wondering how it was all going to sound in this large room with a very high sloping ceiling and concrete floor. There were curtains at back behind the stage and along the walls so this should dampen some of the echo. By 7:30pm the place looked full and Tami and her band sauntered on stage and started the gig with a version of Howlin' Wolf's "Evil" at which point I realised that this was going to probably be some sort of Blues show to fit in with the jazz and blues festival. Tami confirmed this after the first song by giving us a little talk about what the gig was going to entail and talked about the history of contemporary music and how important the blues, and in the context of this show, Gospel music was to the evolution of modern popular music.
We then proceeded to be presented with a fantastic show, with Tami and her band belting out fabulous versions of songs but the likes of Ray Charles, Mavis Staples, Blind Willie Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Otis Rush, just to name the ones I can remember off the top of my head right now. The sound did have a bit of an echo but was overall very good and even being in the front row quite near a speaker stand, it wasn't too loud. Her band was smoking and Tami really showed her awesome talent belting out the vocals of some legendary music, one highlight was an acapella version of a Ralph Stanley song with support from the whole band, very moving. I really felt the sense of the musical history being presented and the power of the music and had goose bumps at some of Tami's singing. What a talent. What a brilliant gig.