Down and Dirty Shine Tour
ZZ Ward’s “Down and Dirty Shine Tour” came rambling into Irving Plaza Monday night, transforming it into that wholesome perennial blues club that people would quip, “You can always go back.” Not only did the young blues-inspired singer transport everyone down into those shadowed, late night blues clubs full of heartbreak and mutual griping over lost, failed, or mistaken loves, but she did it with the most upbeat, optimistic energy you’d find above the Mason-Dixon Line.
Accompanying her was the sole songwriter James Bay coming straight from the United Kingdom, supporting his The Dark of the Morning EP, as well as Nashville’s The Wild Feathers. The latter clearly had done their rounds in Tennessee; as tight and seasoned on stage as aged barrels of whiskey. They do a bit of country, good ole rock’n’roll inspired pop rock with multiple vocals. A hoot to those unaccustomed.
Til the Casket Drops has let ZZ Ward make the rounds in the past year, leading her to Leno and Kimmel. NYC got the full treatment with ZZ Ward shifting the audience’s cheering gears into motion with “Put the Gun Down” and “Til the Casket Drops.” “Lil Darlin” was the pause, dipping the evening back as she started to impress with her range of talent going downtempo. Channeled emotion, ZZ Ward constantly impressed with her connection to those people crying out her name, swinging with loved ones in their arms while she recounted failed relationships or temporary one night mistakes.
The highlight came whenever ZZ Ward pulled out the harmonica. Although a little stifled by the PA system, these moments distinguished her from every blonde singer/songwriter taking to stages from Union Square all the way to the Pacific Northwest. Deep within too, an undercurrent of hip-hop runs through and through, such as on “Cryin Wolf” when everyone got swept into the unconventional clapping that even she quipped tripped her up at times. The ruckus rambling rock of “Move Like U Stole It” closed the set, before “Blue Eyes Blind” was treated to the crowd after a short eruption of well-deserved adoration.