More about: Willy Mason
So a month after Conor Oberst (a.k.a. Bright Eyes) took to the Wedgewood Rooms stage, one of his â€˜recommendationsâ€™ takes to the very same. This is first gig of Masonâ€™s nine date April UK tour. A good opportunity to compare the two of them as they lovingly battle for the souls and cash of young and old emos.
But before that, nothing can quite prepare you for the experience that is the support, Kid Carpet. He bounds on stage in his Adidas top and trainers looking like heâ€™s ready for some sparring bout. Full of energy, heâ€™s ready to do battle with his drum machine and collection of various assorted instruments like adapted car boot sale kiddie keyboards and Fischer Price plastic guitars. His vocals are delivered in a punk-hop style and itâ€™s a nice touch that the set list is written on the back of his hand in blue biro. Itâ€™s a bit like a lo-fi Matthew Herbert meets Billy Bragg.
He proudly shows off a copy of the single â€˜Your Loveâ€™ (which includes a furby solo!) thatâ€™s not due out until the 25th April. Other highlights include a rework of Wordy Rappinghood with â€˜discoâ€™ guitar given the full Hendrix-air treatment. The set ends with him bouncing around the stage to his version of Van Halenâ€™s 1983 hit, â€˜Jumpâ€™ (with Ivor Cutler sample?). Unlikely as it seems, his version was featured on a Polish Internet radio Hip Hop set list last week! Clearly it has surprise mass appeal. Full marks for entertainment and destined for many a festival appearance this year. Heâ€™s at Homelands at the end of May.
In comparison, Willy Mason was always going to be less energetic. Joined by his younger brother Sam on drums. It was a shame they didnâ€™t bring more of a band with them like Bright Eyes did as the songs lacked variation at times as a duo. Having said that, the sell out crowd seemed to love it and he was happy to play the crowdâ€™s requests throughout the show.
I preferred the country-flavoured songs like â€˜Fear No Painâ€™, â€˜So Longâ€™ and the Dylanesque â€˜Hard Hand To Holdâ€™ than other crowd favourites such as, â€˜Still A Flyâ€™ and â€˜Where Humans Eatâ€™. The cover of a Hank Williams song was also good but the â€œnew songâ€ â€˜Mosquitoesâ€™ was less so. I suggest you go for the other option, â€˜The World I Wantedâ€™ on the rest of the tour if you get given the choice again.
As Oberst has â€˜First Day Of My Lifeâ€™, Masonâ€™s anthem is â€˜Oxygenâ€™. Is having a modern day classic a millstone? Not on this showing. Itâ€™s the last track of the set that he plays solo. The audience respectively hadnâ€™t requested it previously; they knew he had to play it. They loved it and sung along with all the words. Touchingly the crowd continually told him â€œwe love youâ€ and after a couple of encores, he reassures them â€œyouâ€™ll see me again soonâ€. I believe him, â€œon and on and on we goâ€¦hmm, hmm, hmmâ€.
More about: Willy Mason