Joss Stone is a hopeless coquette.
For one hour on Thursday, the tall, barefoot British singer flitted about the stage at the O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul, purring with her sweet soulful voice, flirting with her conversation and tip-toeing through obscure soul tunes.
Think Mariah Carey as a 25-year-old hippie chick.
Then during her encore, Stone showed why she gets to sing tributes at the Grammys, to join Mick Jagger’s supergroup and to draw a full house at St. Kate’s.
Girlfriend can really sing.
After spending an hour emoting gracefully (with a taste of Gladys Knight here, a little Motown there, a bit of Mariah), she filled her belly with fire. She found her inner Janis Joplin on the pleading “I Don’t Wanna,” unleashed her sexy soul seductress on “Landlord” and got all Southern soul mama on “Right To Be Wrong.”
The encore suggested the enormous potential of the woman with the striking soul voice who has been searching for a defining song for nine years and six albums.
Opening was Vintage Trouble, a gospel-punk-funk quartet from Los Angeles. Dressed in natty retro suits, they came across like a male-fronted West Coast answer to the mighty and much-acclaimed Alabama Shakes, 2012’s most impressive new band.
Ty Taylor – who looks like 1960s soul man Joe Tex doing his best Jackie Wilson – is a frontman to be reckoned with. I’d love to see him duet with Stone on Tex’s “Show Me.”
Meanwhile, Vintage Trouble will return Nov. 27 to open for the Who at Target Center.