Having grown up at the same time as Juliana Hatfield, most of the music that influenced her song writing has been significant in my life as well. If you haven’t actively followed her career, you may be surprised at the scope of Hatfield’s creative output. With 18 studio albums to her credit, plus a number of significant collaborations, Hatfield should absolutely be part of the conversation about women who’ve blazed the trail for the many talented female performers currently gaining recognition and enjoying success.
I was thrilled at the opportunity to catch her February 5th performance at the Turf Club, which was part of a month long, 20 date US tour that wraps-up mid-February. Our historic St. Paul venue with its vintage vibe, provided a great atmosphere for this show, which not surprisingly was packed full of long-time fans who seemed to have a deep familiarity with her extensive catalog based on a slew of song requests that were randomly shouted out.
Hatfield projected great energy, was engaged and took the stage ready to rock. Her vocals stood out in the mix and seemed to come easy with an immediately recognizable tone that serves both her punk and pop influenced tunes equally well. Most of the evenings selections came from 2017’s “Pussycat” through the most recent “Juliana Hatfield Sings the Police”, but 5 early 90s songs placed throughout the set were all standout – “Feeling Massachusetts” being one of my favorites. I like that she played her breakout hit “My Sister” about ¾ of the way through instead of saving if for the end, and it really was exceptional.
Hatfield’s very capable on guitar as well and her soloing is particularly entertaining. She seems to play in the moment and has a good sense in songs like “Wonder Why” to offer up just enough and not overdo. She showed off a more technical side with some slick fingerpicking for the solo section in “Sunny Somewhere” and of course should receive props for handling the off-time Andy Summers chops on the Police material. “Do Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” was really fun and a crowd favorite. Fans also were very onboard with “A Little More Love” and “Physical” from her also recent Olivia Newton John tribute album, which is a surprisingly great fit for Hatfield. A pretty version of “Choose Drugs” closed out the set nicely, leaving fans calling out for “Roxanne”, which kicked off an exceptional encore performance that ended strong with the upbeat “A Dame With A Rod”.
Hatfield did take some time to interact with the crowd and offered up a few edgy comments, my favorite being, “our band is all from Massachusetts, I’m not afraid of your cold weather Minnesota.” I’m pleased to say we were a good audience and she seemed genuinely pleased with the show and said, “Hope to see you again soon”, which I’d be all in for again at any time.
Chicago based band “Sunshine Boys” was fitting opener with former “Blake Babies” member Freda Love Smith on drums. The trio cranked out a spirited set that was very well received.
Everybody Loves Me But You (Hey Babe – 1992)
Everything’s for Sale (Weird -2019)
Hole in My Life (The Police cover – 2019)
Bottles and Flowers (Only Everything – 1995)
Wonder Why (Pussycat – 2017)
Lost Ship (Weird – 2019)
Feelin’ Massachusetts (Become What You Are – 1993)
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da (The Police cover – 2019)
When You’re a Star (Pussycat – 2017)
Sunny Somewhere (Pussycat – 2017)
Hungry for You (J’aurais toujours faim de toi) (The Police cover – 2019)
A Little More Love (Olivia Newton‐John cover – 2018)
Staying In (Weird – 2019)
My Sister (Become What You Are – 1993)
Somebody Is Waiting for Me (Beautiful Creatures – 2000)
Physical (Olivia Newton‐John cover – 2018)
Candy Wrappers (There’s Always Another Girl – 2011)
Everything Is Forgiven (Pussycat – 2017)
Choose Drugs (Beautiful Creature – 2000)
Roxanne (The Police cover – 2019)
A Dame With a Rod (Become What You Are – 1993)