Decca recording artist Imelda May makes her third appearance this year on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on October 11. May performed the title track from her second album Mayhem on the program on July 18 and appeared earlier this spring with Jeff Beck. May will hit the road this fall with a string of major city dates kicking off September 29 at Boston’s Paradise. She performed at this summer’s Lollapalooza where USA Today said “her songs felt right at home at Lolla.” See dates below.
Mayhem marks May’s second album in the U.S. and her first on the Decca label. The album landed on the top of the Billboard New Artist Chart and the title track continues to take off at radio’s AAA Chart at #14 this week. She also performed the single on “Conan” in early August and will be appearing on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” this fall.
May has achieved triple-platinum status in her native Ireland and gold status in the U.K. The album reached number seven on the U.K. chart and remained in the Top Ten for two weeks. America is already well acquainted with May through her aforementioned performance with Jeff Beck including the 2010 Grammy Awards and a PBS Concert Special. May self-released her debut Love Tattoo and has sold more than 40,000 copies in the U.S. alone.
On Mayhem, May wrote 13 out of the 14 tracks including the title song. Performing a fusion of surf guitars, blues and rockabilly, her accomplished band includes husband Darrel Higham on guitars, Al Gare on double-bass, Dave Priseman on trumpet and Steve Rushton on drums. The band has shared stages with Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, David Gilmore, Shane Macgowan, Van Morrison, Jeff Beck, Wanda Jackson, Paul Brady, Jamie Cullum and Meatloaf.
IMELDA MAY TOUR DATES
September 29 Paradise Rock Boston, MA
October 1 Bowery Ballroom New York, NY
October 2 Ram’s Head Annapolis, MD
October 4 Majestic Theater Madison, WI
October 5 Fine Line Minneapolis, MN
October 7 Park West Chicago, IL
October 8 Singletary Center Lexington, KY
October 9 3rd and Lindsley Nashville, TN
By Marianne Spellman (Popthomology.com)
If I hauled out the amount of superlatives that I would like to in reviewing Imelda May’s performance at Seattle’s Neptune Theater, you and I would be here all day long, and you also might become a little skeptical. Oh, right, no one can be that good, you’d say, and then I would have to say that, no, someone can be that good.
So I will get right to the bottom line: Imelda May is one of the most talented, most entertaining, most exciting, most glamorous, and most down-to-earth performers I have ever had the pleasure to hear and photograph in concert. Or in ‘50s hepcat parlance, suitable to her retro rockabilly style, Imelda May was “in the pocket, a real barn burner, supermurgitroid, 18 karat, and too, too much.”
The audience, from kids to grandparents, was totally on May’s side from the moment she walked out onstage, literally roaring approval after each song. This rapturous reception seemed to supercharge the already razor-sharp band (May’s husband Darrel Higham on guitar, Steve Rushton on drums, Al Gare on standup and electric bass, and Dave Priseman on trumpet, acoustic guitar and percussion) on this last show of the U.S. tour. The Neptune just buzzed with high energy the entire night. May also proved to be a charming hostess. When a fan shouted out, “Nice dress!” referring to her vibrant yellow-and-black striped shift, the Irish-born May replied in possibly the cutest accent ever, “Do you like it? It’s my boom-blebee dress!” Her willingness to connect with the audience was totally refreshing and genuine. She also was no-nonsense, once calling out those who chose to chat loudly during one of the quieter tunes, and stopping the show for a few moments to inquire about the welfare of a child that had been taken away from the front of the stage, even offering a spot for the child to watch the show from the side onstage.
But the most remarkable aspect to Imelda May was her powerhouse of a voice which faltered not once in the evening, through melodic slow soulful ballads to jazzy upbeat swing to screaming blasts of rock ‘n roll. Her range seemed effortless, and she used her entire body as she sang, arms and hands beckoning to the crowd, opened wide, thrown to the sky, and her wide smile visible from even the last row in the Neptune’s balcony.
May and her band played almost every song from her most recent release, “Mayhem,” and threw in some great covers (“Train Kept A-Rollin’,” “My Baby Left Me,” and a wild update of “Tainted Love” for an encore). At the end of the show, she thanked everyone profusely for supporting the album and the tour, and band and fans left the Neptune on a definite high. Imelda May is quite a talent, and a real treasure.
The show was opened by two local Seattle acts. Aaron Daniel’s “One Man Banned” was just that – one guy onstage, supplementing his vocals and guitar with multi-layered live loops, similar to Tune-yards in creation of sound, but with a harder and more mainstream feel, sometimes reminiscent of Kings Of Leon with a hip-hop rhythm flair. Daniel’s strong vocals were a standout. Following Daniel were traditional rockabilly purveyors The Roy Kay Trio, who were crowd-pleasers with their original blend of the earliest rock n’ roll styles with a country influence.
Imelda May, Neptune Theatre, Seattle WA 8/12/11 setlist:
Pullin’ the Rug
Train Kept A-Rollin’
Go Tell the Devil
Big Bad Handsome Man
Proud and Humble
Kentish Town Waltz
All For You
Inside Out (Remix)
Bury My Troubles Away
Let Me Out
Whatcha Gonna Do
Johnny Got A Boom Boom
My Baby Left Me
All photos courtesy of Marianne Spellman. Check out her flickr page for more.
Celebrating the recent U.S. release of her third studio album, ‘Mayhem,’ Imelda May will be hosting a live acoustic session and chat on Wednesday, July 27 at 2pm ET / 11am PT. The Irish rockabilly singer-songwriter will visit the Livestream Studio to play songs from the new album, while answering questions live via Facebook and Twitter. Fans are invited to tune in and submit questions at http://www.livestream.com/imeldamay.
If our world were a much cooler world, a world filled with hepcats and cool chicks and jazzbos and crazy ‘billies all hanging out on all the corners of every town and village snapping fingers, drinking beer, and doing the Lindy Hop, Imelda May would reign as Queen Supreme. In many ways, we are transported to this imaginary land listening to “Mayhem,” May’s second U.S. album, and first for Decca. May’s a Dubliner whose got classic American music styles down solid, Daddy-O – manic rockabilly, jazzy swing, blustery blues – and she effortlessly combines them into an appealing retro groove which is both slick and edgy, with the hearty confidence of a pro and the joyful enthusiasm of a novice.
Yet May’s “Mayhem” isn’t a dusty relic tied too tightly to the past. The album sparkles throughout with crisp, rich production, solid, clever songwriting, and just the right amount of grit and swagger applied to May’s versatile vocals, putting her unquestionably at the top in the current Ladies’ Power Voice club. Talking an aural walk through some of the album’s tracks brings smiles. “Psycho” could easily be the reverb-drenched theme to a midnight horror flick, and title track “Mayhem” channels Brian Setzer rather completely (the closest artist comparison one could make to what Imelda May does). The slow ballad “Kentish Town Waltz” changes directions, with sparse instrumentation and a dreamy, floating 3/4-time sweetness that showcases the warmth and purity in May’s voice. “All For You” is a sexy burlesque number that just reeks of smoke, whiskey and fishnet stockings in a club of dubious reputation, “Eternity” pairs Imelda One and Imelda Two in tight Everly Brothers harmony for a chugging country driver, “Inside Out,” owes its brassy syncopation to New Orleans-style jazz, and a cover of Gloria Jones/Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” gets a quick-paced update, with a rattling drumstick clack and some fancy Nashville Cat-style guitar to propel it along.
“Mayhem” is just a whole lot of fun, and extremely well-done. It’s no surprise that Imelda May in her relatively short career already counts legendary artists as diverse as Jeff Beck, Jools Holland, Wanda Jackson, and Elvis Costello as fans. In my mind, back in that cooler world, I can see them all on the coolest kids’ street corner with her, playing dice and makin’ nice. She’s that good.
Imelda May performed “Mayhem” on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Excitement is in the air for rockabilly star Imelda May and her return to the U.S. May’s acclaimed album Mayhem will hit the states July 19 and to celebrate she’ll play a show at L.A.’s El Ray Theatre. That same week May will play a sold-out show at New York’s Mercury Lounge with a U.S. tour to follow. See below for more tour dates and how to win tickets to some of the shows!
IMELDA MAY TOUR DATES
7/19 – Los Angeles @ El Ray Theatre
7/21 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge – Sold Out
7/26 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
7/27 – New York, NY @ Central Park Summerstage
7/28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
7/30 – Boston, Massachusetts @ Brighton Music
8/7- Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
8/9 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independant
8/10 – Portland, Oregon @ Oregon Zoo
8/12 – Seattle, WA @ The Neptune
With the release of the album there are a number of gracious contests giving away cash, tickets and other prizes. Head over to Refinery 29 for a chance to win 2 tickets to her sold-out Mercury Lounge show, a copy of the album, and a $300 shopping spree.
Most of the other shows are close to selling out too and we’re going to give ONE lucky person a pair of tickets to the July 26th show at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC. Just Keep reading for more info. Just email us firstname.lastname@example.org (with the subject: I WANNA SEE IMELDA MAY!) with your name and we’ll email you back if you win!
“You can see why Jools Holland is so bats about Imelda May…authentic boogie-woogie piano, a genuinely great voice that revs like a hotrod at the start line, and she writes her own material.” – Mojo