From our sponsors:
August 5, 2014
7 p.m. Doors / 8 p.m. Show | $20 | Under 21 OK w/ guardian
1332 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209
“The problem with an artist like Imelda May is that she’s so good, it makes a critical review almost impossible to write; her performance is flawless.” – Clash Magazine
Imelda May, born in Dublin and raised in the Liberties, may be an unknown name to some, but to many she is already a superstar. She is unmistakable both in her music (a fusion of surf guitars, blues and rockabilly that wouldn’t be out of place in a David Lynch film) and her style, with a solitary curl and shock of blonde in her jet black hair. In Ireland, her debut album ‘Love Tattoo’, which she recorded and released on her own label, has gone Triple Platinum. She has shared a stage with Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, David Gilmour, Sharon Shannon, Jeff Beck, Shane Macgowan, Kirsty McCall, Van Morrison, Lionel Richie, Wanda Jackson, Paul Brady and Meatloaf. And now, with the release of her new album “Mayhem”, she is about to go stellar.
Being the youngest of five siblings , Imelda was the most susceptible to the various influences from her older brothers and sisters, which she could hear constantly through the walls of their two bedroom house. There was folk, the obligatory chart pop, and then there was Elvis. “My brother was a mad Elvis fan, and I found a tape in his room with Elvis, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent. I thought the music was fantastic.”
By the age of nine Imelda had fallen in love with rockabilly and the blues – the only kid in her class who wasn’t into Wet Wet Wet. Singing along to rock n roll from an early age, her tastes began to develop and deepen, first with Elmore James and then – “ I heard Billie Holiday, and that blew my mind.” After a year of art college she dropped out, deciding she would rather sing for a living. At that point, her professional experience was confined to having sung on an ad for Findus Fish Fingers at 14. “A girl in The Liberties was in the music business and she got me this ad, where I sang, ‘Betcha never put your finger on a crunchier crumb!’ I got £40 for it!” She quickly found work singing with the swing troupe Blue Harlem and rock n roller Mike Sanchez and had an interesting spell of singing in burlesque clubs: “I’d sing while the other girls were onstage. One of them used to take an angle grinder to her crotch and would produce a shower of sparks. One day a spark flew down my throat when I was singing!”