Thepanch's Blog

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Bird Of Prey

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Attending a gig can be a life changing experience. You never forget your first time. My first “big gig” was U2 in Slane on their second day at the Meath venue. I secured tickets because I was acutely aware that, despite not being a fan of the band, this was a massive cultural happening and would be a great show, fandom regardless. I was right. I knew all the big ones and sang along as best I could, but it was the thrill of being there, the roar of the crowd, the bond between performer and audience, the spiritual connection you feel you’re making with the band, the tremendous sense of euphoria. That happened again when we watched Wallis Bird tear a hole through Benedict’s Nightclub, a hole that was mostly blown open by midget funk and boundless energy.
Ably supported by local boy, Clive Barnes, who sounds like a world weary man of 95 sitting on his porch in Louisiana, swigging moonshine and pining silently for a lost loved one, a simpler way of life or indeed something he quite can’t remember. Barnes has a lovely style of engaging with an audience and for my money a skill on guitar that has often been imitated but never quite equalled.
After a short interval, Bird emerged, two bottles of Heineken in hand. Ya gotta love that, “Wallis, you’re on.” “Better bring me bottles so…” It was a warm, rapturous welcome that seemed to engulf Bird in the cosy bosom of her hometown, her people. And as she wryly pointed out at one song introduction, “a few faces I remember from gettin’ the shift outside.” Effortless, completely effortless.
And that I feel is Bird’s appeal. The band she has surrounded herself with is truly nothing short of phenomenal (they also have a beat boxing drummer….) All their eyes watching her as she weaves her way through the set, acutely aware that the pace, tempo, feel of the song could change any minute. Being familiar with the unsung, unsaid cues of playing within a band it is a joy to watch it unfold live. The odd wink here, the nod, the look that says, “Yea, come on I’m going, join in.” That effortless talent has come through years of playing and touring and it shows as Bird, along with the band makes the whole thing look so easy.
The set list was well put together. Despite the ignorance of some at the start, which was if I’m being honest highly offensive. The slow songs were achingly beautiful and seemed to touch places that you couldn’t even see. The faster ones had an energy that sent ripples all around the nightclub (and a broken string to boot) the choice cuts being Meal Of Convenience (hands down my favourite Wallis song) and To My Bones. The tenderest moment of the evening came at the very last song. Bird emerged from behind the microphone and began her new single In Dictum.
Al of a sudden, the ignorance had dissipated and the room stood enthralled as she sang, like all great singers from the heart and the lungs. The nightclub seemed to transform to a front room of any house, a session in mid flow and the night is silenced by one voice and a guitar. The one voice quickly became a whole room of voices as the whole place joined in the chorus. Harmonies, again effortless came from the band. A beautiful way to end the night and night one of the Irish tour was complete.
Wallis is back in Germany at the minute. Back on the road and doing what she does best. All dates area available here:


Written by thepanch

February 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Thoughts, Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

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