Sari Schorr & The Engine Room @ Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow Apr01


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Sari Schorr & The Engine Room @ Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow



Sari Schorr & The Engine Room @ Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow

Cottiers Theatre had the privilege of being the first venue in Scotland to host the blues queen Sari Schorr and like a hurricane this force of nature blew us away.

Before we got around to this amazing singer and her seriously talented band we had local lads Catfish Blues set the blues mood in style. They are a no frills, down to earth and serious blues band. Their set is full of all original songs and they go from lazy swaggering on the likes of “ Bright Lights, Big City”, a song that oozes soul to the likes of “Broken Down and Beat” which sounds like early Led Zep with its upbeat blues riffs.

This band are a top drawer, stand alone blues band but as a starter to Sari’s main course they were excellent.

I have waited quite a while to see Sari Schorr and The Engine Room live. Ever since I heard the incredible debut “Force Of Nature” it was at the forefront of my mind and the only thing that worried me was that after producing such a top quality blues album I would be disappointed with a live performance but within seconds of opening number “ Ain’t Got The Money” those fears were gone in an instant. This song is the first track of the album so it was the first song I heard from the band. The guitar got me hook line and sinker in seconds but when Sari opened her mouth I was rooted to my seat and live this is one hell of a set opener. It has everything, the guitar, the passion, the pain and the voice of an angel.

Good live music can do things nothing else in this world can, it can lift your spirits, it can take you to the depths, it can transport you to a time in your life you will never forget but sometimes it can do so much more…tonight was one of those nights. I have been attending gigs now for 37 years, that is a lot of concerts and a lot of bands and very few got me like tonight. I have seen some incredible shows over the years but the rarest of things for me is to take my emotions and twist them inside out. Not once but twice Sari brought tears to my eyes. The power of her voice and the reality of her lyrics hit me hard. Before tonight three songs from this album had become very personal to me and to hear them live, delivered with such power and heart hit me in the chest like a shotgun blast.

As you can imagine we were treated to almost every track from “Force Of Nature” which I was more than happy with as every song on the album is outstanding. It is also another brilliant reason to be here tonight as Sari is well on the way to having written the next album and future tours means that some of these songs will have to be dropped(yeah, good luck choosing them Sari).

There were always going to be some covers and with the introduction to guitarist Innes Sibun as the man she stole from Robert Plant we burst into “Rock and Roll”. The man may be dressed like he just got out of his bed but Damn can he play that guitar and how Robert let him go I have no idea.

We also get a full feel of what this band can do as Sari takes a break and they are left to their own devices and without the distraction of the sultry vocals you see the pure talent in each member on that stage. This is why they are called the engine room as everything is powered from these guys.

We get another cover in “Stormy Monday” and it is blues as it was meant to be heard and Sari just takes it to another level. Of course the cover everyone was waiting for was included and I have never witnessed a performance of “Black Betty” like tonight. Sari has taken this and twisted it almost till it is unrecognisable. When she kicks into this song your jaw will drop, your heart will swell and your ears will not believe what they are hearing…and to think this song was an accident. It wasn’t even going to be on the album. Sari was asked to do it for an awards ceremony and she said only if she could do it her way and when the record label heard it they said she had to get back in the studio and record it for inclusion on “ Force Of Nature”. This song has to be heard live to be believed.

Probably my favourite track on the album is “Damn The Reason”, it slipped into my soul the very first time I heard it and it is never far from my ears…it even made it onto my playlist of all time favourite tracks so as you can imagine, for me this was incredible, as Sari hit the chorus my eyes glazed and I was lost.

I recently had an interview with Sari( coming soon) and it gave me a wonderful insight not only into the music but the woman herself. She is a very humble woman with a beautiful nature which came out for all to see with the final track tonight” Ordinary Life”. She explained it is all about being grateful for what you have, even if it is just an ordinary life. It is a beautiful song by a beautiful heart, a woman who sees beyond her own self worth, can see the pain in the world and the love that little gestures can provide.

This has to be one of the strongest blues performances I have ever seen and I have witnessed many. Mark my words this woman is going to be huge, she has broken out from her native New York and the world best just sit up and pay attention. This band live needs to be on everyone’s bucket list, if you love blues, if you love guitar and if you want to hear a voice that can rip your heart to shreds and fill it with love all in one performance there is nowhere else to be.

Images and review Ritchie Birnie.

Images and review Ritchie Birnie.

Sari Schorr

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