The elegant and stylish Reid Concert Hall at the University of Edinburgh provided a splendid setting for a very special concert on 28th April, when Siobhan Wilson played the penultimate date of her UK Spring tour. She was accompanied by her good friend Matt Rawlings on guitar and the sumptuous strings of special guests, The Demi Octet. This tour was an opportunity for Siobhan Wilson to celebrate the resounding success of her most recent album, There Are No Saints (which a number of music journalists included in their lists of 2017’s best albums) and to showcase a couple of new songs, before starting work on her next album.
The audience’s warm and enthusiastic welcome drew a beaming smile from Siobhan Wilson as she took to the stage, resplendent in a pair of multi-coloured angel wings.The show was soon off to a flier as she and Rawlings kicked into the gloriously grungy guitar chords of the indie-pop gem, Whatever Helps, which boasts a killer sing-along chorus and a gentle nod towards classic late seventies New Wave. The absorbing lo-fi pop-rock of Dark Matter featured chiming guitar and a graceful and heartfelt vocal (“Nobody knows what dark matter is made of or what goes on behind your eyes…”). The unashamedly romantic and heart-warming Make You Mine was a fine example of Wilson’s gift as a storyteller in song and was also notable for her beautifully-constructed guitar solo and some lush strings. The first brand-new song, Eight Oceans, was drop-dead gorgeous and had the added interest of having been co-written with Rachel Sermanni, no less. The ominous tone of Incarnation was heightened by some deep and resonant chords and licks on Wilson’s trusty Gretsch guitar, as her vocals positively soared on the towering chorus… “I don’t wanna be a blackbird sitting alone on top of your gravestone, I don’t wanna be an incarnation, telling your life like it should have been told…”
There followed a nice change of tempo, as Wilson took to the impressive Steinway piano for Paris Est Blanche, an exquisite tale of lost love, in which her feathery vocals and delicate piano signature, underpinned by gently soaring strings, did full justice to this beautiful and moving song. Wilson remained at the piano for the epic slow-burn of Disaster And Grace, which drew a stunning vocal performance. With its intricate and imaginative structure, delicate light and shade and subtle shifts in tempo and mood, this song was completely captivating and recalled the majesty of Mid Air-era Paul Buchanan. Another impressive new song, Marry Me, was followed by the dreamy classic French love song J’attendrai, featuring a soothing vocal and a charming piano motif. The expansive Dear God demonstrated the full range of Wilson’s wondrous vocals and her distinctive phrasing. The main set closed with one of her signature songs, the swaggering, playful and increasingly dark All Dressed Up, which featured a delightfully coquettish performance from Wilson and some tasty, country-tinged guitar from Rawlings.
Returning to the stage for the inevitable encore, Wilson pulled out an achingly beautiful vocal on the bittersweet ebb and flow of It Must Have Been The Moon. She invited another of her musician friends, Ken Belcher, onto the stage to contribute some fluid guitar breaks on a wonderfully stripped-back and slowed down interpretation of the Sex Pistols’ anthem Anarchy In The UK. What a finish…
With this mesmerising and brilliant performance, laden with invention, originality, spark, poise and charm, Siobhan Wilson underlined her credentials as one of Scotland’s finest singer-songwriters. She is an artist with genuine star quality.
For more information on Siobhan Wilson, click here