A true show of emotion from Hazel

Still connecting with fans: Hazel O'Connor
Still connecting with fans: Hazel O'Connor

Hazel O’Connor

Trades Club, Hebden Bridge

Hazel O’Connor returned to a packed Trades Club in Hebden Bridge with a formidable mix of blues and jazz songs spanning more than 30 years in the business.

Touring as Hazel O’Connor and the Bluja Project with fellow blondes, saxophonist Clare Hirst and Sarah Fisher on keyboards, they gave us an array of songs ranging from soft delicate ballads – If Only and Acoustically Yours through to the frightening concept of Eighth Day which gave Hazel a singles chart hit in 1980.

Hazel O’Connor continues to write impressively. Drawing from observations and personal tragedies, she introduces each song telling of events that inspire her. Cinderella Moments reflects on her relationship with a postman while her massive best-seller Will You remains a beguiling anthem of confused, clumsy seduction.

There’s a raunchy blend in her voice which is perfectly modulated to capture the soft bluesy ballads like Bless The Child.

But the show is not just about Hazel O’Connor; she willingly cedes the stage while Hirst and Fisher demonstrate their consummate skills. The sax solo from Will You remains an endearing delight and received deserved applause.

When you see Hazel perform, you realise how much the words mean to her. Like a defiant jerky marionette, she chews and spits out the lyrics: marching, gyrating and gesticulating to catch every meaning.

Hazel O’Connor and the Bluja Project clearly delight in the close connect they enjoy with their fans while Hazels unique style continues to evolve and enthral.

Simon Wilkinson