Due to the pandemic, we saw plenty of live albums and DVDs release recently, but most of them were not recorded during the actual COVID restrictions. That is why I am fascinated with the new live release from That Joe Payne, filmed October 23rd 2020 at The Crescent Theatre in Birmingham, UK. The DVD is called By Name By Nature Tour, and it released on June 25th.
You should remember Joe from my review of his album in July 2020. By Name. By Nature. was Joe’s debut solo effort, and it was every bit as eccentric and vibrant as I expected. For this live show, he recruited musicians Oliver Day, Josh Green, Moray Macdonald, and Nicholas M Willes: plus special “guest” vocalist Ms Amy Birks (check out her solo work, as well).
That Joe Payne is an outlet that features inspiring, eclectic, and thrilling musical moments. You will hear everything from pop to prog rock here, and most of it is blended together brilliantly and concisely. I would compare Joe’s work to greats like Peter Gabriel, Freddie Mercury, and others.
I have thoughts about the production and performance, so I’ll discuss them separately. The production for this show and for the release are obviously low budget, as with any indie artist. I must say, though, that Joe really makes the most of it. The sound does not suffer, the picture and camera angles are quite pleasing, and I enjoy the videos on the screen behind the band very much. All in all, for the money they spent, this looks and sounds better than it should.
Performance-wise, I’m also impressed. Joe’s voice sounds unbelievable, as always, but sometimes I struggle to believe he can sound this amazing live. Apparently, he can. I did notice some out-of-breath moments from him, but those mostly took place during some of his dance routines early on. Still, the vocals on this live release are superb, as are all the performances on the various instruments.
This release is all about Joe, though. He has such a stage presence and wit about him that he simply takes over everything. The first part of the show features some of his more eccentric, wild pieces, hence the dance numbers and interaction with the screen behind him. Things get a bit tamer, and I would add a little more “exquisite”, as the show progresses. Joe digs deeply into some ballads, in other words. The show ends with a variety of sounds and textures, and so the entire thing feels interesting all the way through.
I really enjoy the track list here. Joe sings plenty from his solo record, including the title track and “Nice Boy”, two of my favorites. But he also sings some tracks from collaborations, such as with John Holden, called “Capture Light”. I have to stop and just say that “Capture Light” is done incredibly well here, and Joe’s voice literally brings me to tears every time I listen to this track. Joe also provides a few covers, including one for Henry Purcell’s “Music for a While” and even Beethoven’s “Moonlit Love”. All excellent.
One thing that surprised me greatly was the inclusion of a song from The Enid. I’m not sure of his relationship with that band any more, though Robert John Godfrey seemed rather bitter about Joe’s departure. Anyways, Joe sings one of my favorite songs from The Enid, “Who Created Me?”, and he nails it thoroughly. Absolutely stunning. He also sings “One and the Many”, another Enid track, to close the show.
My favorite moments on the release are probably “End of the Tunnel”, an atmospheric ballad from Joe’s debut album; “Love (Not the Same)”, an electronic duet with Ms Amy Birks; and “Capture Light”. Another favorite aspect is hearing Joe interact with the crowd. He’s obviously glowing and thrilled to be there, and I like his banter. I also like seeing him muse on the keys and play various instruments. It’s a testament to how truly talented he is.
This By Name By Nature Tour release is a must for That Joe Payne fans. You will thoroughly enjoy it. I think fans of his collaborations should check it out, too, because you will find the brilliant mind behind the stunning voice. Furthermore, I hope that new fans can be found here; new fans who are eager to plunk down some cash to help Joe continue making this wonderful music.
Find That Joe Payne online: