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Lee Aaron at Camden Underworld, London - live review

Triumphant return to rock

Crowd shot

Last year, having diversified via jazz and opera, Lee Aaron returned to rock music after two decades away from it, releasing her Fire And Gasoline album and playing a well-received spot at the Rockingham Festival. Tonight, Canada’s self-styled metal queen (the recipient of three Toronto Music Awards for Best Female Vocalist, and 10 Juno nominations), is back in London for the first time since the 1980s, belting out a set of vintage tunes, material from Gasoline and, perhaps unexpectedly, previewing a follow-up that’s due in the autumn.

I’m A Woman fits her description of said album being “a little bit blues rock”, and she’s daring enough to have taken a stab at Deep Purple’s Burn, one of two covers (the other being Rock Candy by Montrose). Purple’s 1974 warhorse is, of course, a virtually untouchable song, but Aaron and her band revisit it with all necessary respect and class. Along with golden oldie Barely Holding On, it’s the perfect platform for her to really show off her vocal strengths.

Even at 54, Aaron still has the voice and that same lovably goofy charisma. She also looks great and appears totally comfortable to be back doing what she did so well all those years ago.

If there’s a marked absence of really vintage numbers, it’s forgotten as Aaron departs to huge roars after her signature anthem Metal Queen, and an encore of Hot To Be Rocked seals the night in fine style.