Will Varley - Is on a boat!!!

November 17th, 2016
Thekla, Bristol


You're going to need a bigger boat 

This was my first experience of the Thekla in Bristol, which if you are not aware, is a converted cargo ship and the stage is right down in the hull. The place was packed to the gunnels (to appropriately use a nautical term) so we took up our spot on the mezzanine behind a metal mesh... which looked bit like it may have been left over from a prison (but probably to stop idiots chucking their drink down).

That’s enough about the venue and if the size and passion of this sell crowd is anything to go by, he will need somewhere bigger next time anyway. The crowd already seemed to know most of Will Varley’s words and sung passionately throughout, he himself is certainly a man with something to say in his songs with a left wing political edge through the performance and admonishing the rag racist papers.

Certainly an interesting time for somebody of his political persuasions and I am sure Trump, who would approve of a song called ‘Build a Wall’... and Brexit will give him plenty of ongoing material to tap into. This was certainly not a political soapbox throughout though with heart felt songs such as ‘Until the grass gets Greener’ about his personal life mixed with being a struggling musician.

Hopefully he will not be struggling much longer as he certainly deserves success and even more recognition. ‘Talking cat Blues’ was the first time I can recall hearing a song about a talking cat on the internet, perhaps an overlooked area for music to move into. The interaction and banter with the crowd was great throughout, always nice to have an artist engage with the audience, especially one who said he used to be shy, at times it almost morphs into performance poetry.  

With other songs covering death, ‘One last look at the View’, to brand control and advertising, he even morphed his folk punk into a Blink 182 parody, certainly something for everybody. Last time he was in Bristol was three years ago apparently and he played to seven people at the Grain Barge, not much danger of that anymore certainly not by the evidence of tonight, the night ended with a mass sing along of what has become his anthem ‘King for a Day’.

He is developing his act with later songs being a bit less political but without losing any integrity, I suggest you catch him soon if you want an intimate venue which is probably where his personality will shine with the close crowd interaction. Oh and for information, if you are at the front you may have to buy him a well deserved Jamesons.  

Review by Jon Cooper and Photo's by Steve Owen

Check Out! the Video for 'King for a King' Below...