Sari Schorr

Sari Schorr: A force of nature

Sari Schorr & The Engine Room | The Borderline | 20 March 2017

(Photo credit: Eric Duvet)

“Everybody is so clued into each other,” says Sari Schorr of her backing band, the perfectly named The Engine Room. “That allows us to be very dynamic and creative on stage and the show doesn’t get boring – because we never know what’s going to happen,” she laughs.

So when they run into a few technical hitches, breaking in the revamped Borderline’s brand new sound and lighting system, they just keep on rockin’ like there’s no tomorrow. The show must go on, as they say in the classics. And, quite frankly, this show is one of the classics.

It kicks off with the searing blues guitar intro of ‘Ain’t Got No Money’, a clever twist on the traditional life-is-tough lament with a soaring chorus that immediately showcases the powerhouse voice of the New York City songstress as she duets with Innes Sibun’s screaming six-string and Anders Olinder’s keys. The barroom chat-up ‘Demolition Man’ builds up the swagger as Schorr and the musicians boogie around Kevin Jeffries’ hard-swinging bassline, before a playful ‘Cat and Mouse’ ups the seduction stakes even further.

Later in the set, a smoky take on ‘Stormy Monday’ and her brooding reinterpretation of ‘Black Betty’ ratchet up the heartache, but it’s the tearful waltz ‘Letting Go’ that packs the biggest emotional wallop, Schorr using the full extent of her vocal talents to form a real connection with the audience at the foot of the stage. So, when she caps the sublime, sensitive performance with a perfectly sustained “forever more”, the rapturous response from the floor is truly warranted.   

A considered ‘Kiss Me’ underlines the warmth and tenderness of Schorr as a performer, while ‘Oklahoma’ nods to her love of jazz – and, somewhat appropriately, leads to some improvised jamming between drummer drummer Kevin O’Rourke, Olinder, Jeffries, and Sibun who ends up on his knees, pouring his soul into a flaming solo.

Schorr does the vocal equivalent on ‘Damn The Reason’, throwing the full scale of her empathy into the gut-wrenching highlight of her debut album, then pushes her voice even further on the goodtime rock ‘n roll of ‘Aunt Hazel’ to lift the collective spirit right up again.

Yet it’s the delicate ‘Ordinary Life’ that’s the perfect ends to the show. Overflowing with grace, the piano-led ballad lets the charismatic performer thank her fans in the most fitting way possible – through song.   

Tickets via

Fibbers, York                                                                     Thursday 23 March
Scarborough Blues Festival                                         Friday 24 March
Drummond’s, Aberdeen                                              Saturday 25 March
Cottiers, Glasgow                                                            Sunday 26 March
Talking Heads, Southampton                                     Wednesday 4 April
The Stables, Milton Keynes                                        Wednesday 12 April
Huntingdon Hall, Worcester                                      Thursday 13 April
Atkinson, Southport                                                       Saturday 15 April
The Hawth, Crawley                                                       Sunday 16 April
Keighley Blues Festival                                                 Friday 19 May
Redcar R&B Club, Cleveland                                       Saturday 20 May
Beaverwood, Chislehurst                                            Thursday 23 May
Flowerpot, Derby                                                            Thursday 25 May
Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham                         Friday 26 May
West End Centre, Aldershot                                       Saturday 27 May


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