3 May 2016

Meilyr Jones @ Moth Club, Hackney (live review)

Meilyr Jones released his beautiful debut record 2013, and quite honestly: it's almost certainly the best release of the year so far. Through 12 songs that merge bright brass parts, stomping percussion and just about every instrument under the sun (there's a fucking harpsichord) to create the perfect sonic backdrop for his distinctive Welsh voice. It's a really quite wonderful record, and you can read my record review here - but obviously as a very ambitious record, it's always a test to see how it works on stage. Armed with a six-piece band, Meilyr took to Hackney to bring the trumpet-powered noise to the golden glittery walls of Moth Club.

Elegantly, all 6 foot something of the beautiful Welshman took to the stage - the golden lights shined on him and his extensive backing band (who swapped instruments every song) - and he kicked into life as the rampaging drum stompdown of How To Recognise A Work Of Art. Long limbs flailing as he bandied about the stage with so much charisma and life, accompanied by rich trumpet tones and twangy guitars.

Drastic changes of tempo were prevalent throughout his set all along - Work Of Art segued into the slow-burner Passionate Friend, which rolled into the swooning Don Juan (complete with an acapella flute part, because seemingly the flutist was busy). Meilyr alternated between a charismatic, joyous Edwardian Paul Heaton figure, and a forlorn, slick moving figure, slinking about the stage elegantly rapping off lyrics about loss and heartbreak.

Meilyr Jones live set is a joy to behold, because every single song exists in an ever so unique sonic pocket of time and space you couldn't have thought possible - there was just such a variety on offer, Refugees saw him perched at his piano alone while his band drank up, whilst on the other hand Strange Emotional morphed from a wonderful off-kilter pop song to an otherworldly, enthusiastically-delivered masterstroke that left its structure behind to meld together a masterpiece that featured an acapella rendition of Rebel Rebel, a monstrous psychedelic wall of sound, and Meilyr venturing into the Moth Club crowd to shroud himself in the populous as he built back up and up into a crescendo.

His voice throughout was beyond incredible; that awe-striking voice you heard on 2013 is as wonderful in real life, and his delivery put across that passion so articulately - his performance of his art is incredible, heartfelt and at moments like the rasp of "brown hair to blue eyes", just plain heartbreaking.

Every second was engaging, moving or goosebump-inducing, and with this performance the Welshman showed an awestruck crowd just how to channel pain, remorse, apathy and desire into something so beautiful and unique...

Words: Calum Cashin