GIG REVIEW: Wyyonna Ryyder, 18th February at the Barrels, Hereford

WR Barrels gigI was lucky enough to catch the album launch of Wyyonna Ryyder’s ‘Bella Loon’ at the Barrels in February.

It was a cosy night in the brewery bar and I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout. I couldn’t find a seat and I was brushing shoulders with lots of fringed people with thick rimmed glasses. A great turnout is something missing from the Hereford music scene and it really was a welcome site.

The performance was entirely on a par with the band’s recording. You could say they were impressively true to record, but I’d rather say the recording process was refreshingly true to their live sound.

It is very easy to over record things, to add more than you could ever do live. Not only is it very easy but it’s pretty much commonplace. It was good to witness the same songs live – and they really were the same songs, nothing missing, nothing poorly executed. The only difference was the live show naturally showcased a bit more energy than you find on the 10-track album.

The flawless harmonies were definitely a highlight and showcased the bands dedication to getting it right. The explanation of some of the songs came across as sweet and personal but frontman JP Baron was knowingly endearing – this is a man who feels comfortable with a crowd’s eye on him, however much he played on the awkwardness of the classic English indie kid.

As far as the rest of the band is concerned, they got through the set effortlessly. The seamless performance was the result of what I can only imagine was hours in the practice room.

I normally find that album launches become pretty tiresome if the band play the whole thing from start to finish, but their energy levels were high all the way through. The grungy indie tunes really kept me listening even more so because they were so well executed.

I think you can go a few ways with live performances: You can be raw and energetic and blow everyone’s socks off with your passion; you can be perfect and leave them in awe of your musicality; or you can attempt to marry the two. The latter approach is only really achievable if you keep the extent of your ability in mind when writing songs. Wyyonna Ryyder’s performance was full of energy and full of quality. I didn’t feel at any point that anyone was trying to do something they couldn’t, which resulted in a well-established sound and a well-executed live show.

Pelican Morals

Photo © B at Gippa

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