It’s an overcast spring evening as I queue to enter London’s iconic Borderline for a night filled with soulful blues and electrifying performances by Ben Poole and Ana Popovic. As my fellow blues aficionados and I enter the club, the place is already buzzing, creating an excellent atmosphere before the first note is even played on stage. Packed to the rafters, it is clear this was going to be one hell of a gig.
Up first is British blues sensation, Ben Poole in support of his latest album, ‘Anytime You Need Me’. Hailing from the school of the modern British Blues scene, Ben Poole is a brilliant blues-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist with a funky soul vibe about him. Showcasing an on-point live performance which reflects the hard work that he’s put in over the past eight years, Ben’s vocals were as smooth as caramel, backed by crunchy fuzz and vibrato tones, thrumming bass, and punchy drums. His set created a relaxed and funky tone, through songs old and new, which expanded over the course of the evening. As the last note peeled away into the night, it was met with thunderous applause from the crowd.
Following a brief interlude, it wasn’t long before we were being treated to an instrumental set by Ana Popovic’s band. An extremely talented cadre of musicians, they could have easily held their own as they delved deep into jazz-infused blues as they stirred up the crowd for the main event. However, once Ana took centre stage, it was clear it was going to be show-stopping performance. Blazing through sixteen songs, plus the encore with barely a pause, Ana displayed why she’s known as one of the hardest working women in the blues today. Playing a number of tracks off her latest album ‘Like It On Top’ which Ana remarked was about female empowerment, she dipped in and out of fan favourites and covers throughout the incredibly tight show.
Ana’s sound is an innovative mixture of rock, pop, funk, soul, and jazz, all layered into a progressive blues foundation that sets her apart from her contemporaries. An impressive guitarist who can hold an audience rapt in wonder over her dexterous fretwork, or have them dancing wildly to the rhythms created by her sonic soundscapes, few blues artists can put on a show quite like Ana. As the night stretched on, the performance just kept ticking up notch by notch, and by the time the set finished with a blistering cover of Hendrix’s ‘Crosstown Traffic’, Ana and her band had well and truly blown the roof off the Borderline and left the crowd begging for more. Not one to disappoint, Ana and the band performed a well-received encore, despite it breaking the curfew set for the gig. If you are a fan of the blues, then it does not get much better than this!
Intro (Ana’s Band)
Can You Stand the Heat
Object of Obsession
Love You Tonight
New Coat of Paint (Tom Waits cover)
If Tomorrow Was Today
How’d You Learn To Shake It Like That?
Can’t You See What You’re Doing to Me (Albert King cover)
Fencewalk (Mandrill cover)
Like It on Top
Brand New Man
Show You How Strong You Are
Going Down (The Alabama State Troupers cover)
Crosstown Traffic (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Lasting Kind of Love
Written by: Erik De’Viking
My Global Mind – UK Editor
Erik De’Viking is a London based freelance music journalist. His musical interests include music in all its forms, and he is constantly on the lookout for new bands and genres to discover and later preach about to the masses.