Hazel O’Connor held her audience spellbound

Given the revival of interest in eighties music it’s no surprise that Hazel O’Connor played to a full house at the Corn Hall. But to attribute her success merely to nostalgia would be to greatly undervalue a singer/songwriter that has continually reinvented herself.

In a career that stretches from Blackman to Wakey Wakey O’Connor has remained unapologetically polemical, albeit with an underlying humanity.  She held her audience spellbound with a selection of her own compositions, both old and new, as well as a judicious sprinkling of covers from the likes of Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Snow Patrol.  Accompanied by Sarah Fisher on keyboards and Clare Hirst on saxophone (both musicians with considerable pedigrees in their own right) this was a stripped down set that showcased how strong her voice remains.

Naturally, everyone was waiting for Eighth Day and Monsters in Disguise, and they didn’t disappoint, while the magnificent Will You (complete with a fabulous saxophone solo from Clare Hirst) was worth the price of admission alone. However, it was newer material from Hallelujah Moments that demonstrated how her talent has continued to grow and mature over the years, something that resolutely sets her apart from her contemporaries.

By David Vass