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The Black Heart (Camden), London, UK
18th November 2020
Jo Quail - Live Stream Concert

Tonight, Ladies and Gentlemen, JO QUAIL will entertain us all via the medium of the internet from the comfort of the stage at The Black Heart in Camden and her bowed hand will conjure sounds that will fortify us whilst we dig deep and tolerate the forthcoming but different festive period...

JO QUAIL is a musician who’s been around for around 10 years or so. She is an acclaimed composer and cellist who’s released numerous solo albums and contributed to the work of other artists including Mono, Eraldo Bernocchi and TE Morris. Last year she set up her own record label, Adderstone Records.

Music & Performance
Saturday the 29th of February was the last live event that I attended. It was a CHAOS THEORY event at The Dome and Boston Music Rooms in North London. All of a sudden life as we knew was about to change. Now to be honest, between that last show and lockdown I was getting fatigued with live music. There was too much of it. Gigs were happening all the time and I decided that I needed to step back for a bit and just create some space in my head to enjoy what I’d already been exposed to without other sounds and distractions cluttering up the headspace to the point where everything just melded into one great continuous cacophony of noise. Lockdown in March I welcomed. It was an excuse to take things slower and redirect my energies towards other things including inner healing. Music took a back seat for the most part during this period and to be frank it was a prudent move on my part.


And then some restrictions were eased a little. Bands and artists of all persuasion started to put on streamed shows either from home, from recording spaces or in actual venues, albeit with limited social interaction. It was when I heard that virtuoso cellist and all-round good egg, JO QUAIL was streaming a show from the Black Heart in Camden that I perked my ears and thought “oh, that’s something I want to experience!” I bought a ticket and readied myself for the delights to come. Wow! Just wow! I have not been so mesmerised and fortified by one hour of sublime music as this since the last time I was mesmerised! Tonight’s set consisted of the recent vinyl release of ‘Five Incantations’ which was originally released in 2016. The sound on the stream was perfect and the awesomeness of my speaker system just amplified that. The fact that I did not have to queue up, get my bag checked before pushing my way through throngs of other punters also added to my enjoyment. I could drink my own choice of beverage stress free and just focus on the performance and on the music.


From the percussive and misty ‘White Salt Stag’ through the pathos and hope of ‘The Breathing Hand’ to the percussive embers of ‘Salamander’ with its bowed flames dancing high into the air. ‘Gold’ is a track I've listened to many, many times. It has a video that encapsulates space and inner peace. Tonight, it sent goosebumps pulsating all over my skin. How can controlled and measured noise illustrate the expanse of peaceful silence? It does so with ease! I was emotional but not in a teary sense. It was as if I had been in the company of the interpreter for the great mother. I knew what she was saying and I got the nuance of the message. Only an hour but the quality of the music was of such a high calibre that no more time was needed. And I think the music and the brief explanations between tracks were choreographed perfectly. I’m not normally a fan of between song chats cos i just want artists to keep things flowing by getting on with it. But I have no negative thoughts to impart on this tonight.


The live stream sound was very good indeed, the mix was even and pleasant on the ear. For me personally I quite liked this format. Not only because I didn’t have to travel but because I could choose my own beverages! And 3.99 was a fair price to pay for the privilege. It means that the audience could be increased well beyond the max capacity of the venue and thus elevate revenue for the artist. Great show! Looking forward to the next one!

01. White Salt Stag
02. The Breathing Hand
03. Salamander
04. Between Two Waves
05. Gold

Music: 9.5
Performance: 9.5
Lights: 8
Sound: 9.5
Total: 9 / 10

Screenshot pictures by Claudia Black

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