Wes Finch supported by StylusboyReview
Another emotionally rewarding night at the Magic Lantern, savouring two of the finest & most individual of the many great local performers & writers: Wes Finch & Stylusboy. You'd recognise both their songs & their playing of them easily since both are so well crafted yet personal in nature & tone. It was also an evening for enjoying more visual delights: Stylusboy's merchandise suitcase alone was worth the ticket price & the array of instruments on display could be described as "guitar porn"
I hadn't seen Stylusboy play for quite some time so it was a great pleasure to catch him again, especially at such close quarters & with the bonus of hearing his new material (check out the "Hot Music Live" review of "Out Upon the Ocean"). The title track of his latest EP is a real favourite of mine at the moment: my only regret being was that I took its compelling lyrical imagery as being wholly metaphoric: his introduction however made it clear that it actually really is the story of a lighthouse keeper & his love... Never mind: the best songs are those which give the listener the space to interpret them as they wish & as they feel they apply to them. In fact space is a major element in Stylusboy's music: the same I'd say applies to Wes. Both obviously work very craftily on the words & want you both to hear them & take their meaning in as you listen, so that they have genuine emotional clout.
Talking of which, I was greatly pleased that he played a song that is for many of his fans his finest. I'm not sure if I can think of any other song which deals with the Coventry Blitz as movingly and convincingly as "For the Souls of My Brothers". If you haven't heard it yet..... They ought to play it on a loop at the Herbert.
You can catch up with all things Stylusboy at either of these two sites:
Wes (aided by long term collaborator Jools Street on violin for much of his set), roamed at will throughout his canon of work, solo & as part of various bands. We had two Silver Wye numbers, including set opener "Pick Me Up", several Mechanicals Band ones including their setting of WB Yeats from the new EP , ‘Miscellany #1' namely "Meditation of An Old Fisherman" and the setting of Phillip Larkin which is already a firm fan favourite, "Long Lion Days". From his solo album of 2015, ‘Awena' came the song Wes kindly let "Hot Music Live Presents" use "Jackie's Stone" and you can hear & watch their performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UEZClMyM-k
If I had to pick out a couple of particular highlights other than the ones above, I might firstly cite the fact that Wes and Jools delighted the audience with two of their Tile Hill Billy bluegrass tunes: two of their newest in fact, "Dill Pickle Rag" (a favourite of mine) and "East Texas Waltz"
I'd also like to mention Wes' performance of the highly personal"Got Your Back" which I thought he played with particular intensity and which moved me considerably. Another one I commend to you.
Stylusboy will be back at the Magic Lantern on July 19th supporting Irene Rae & then headlining a gig there on November 30th.
Tile Hill Billy have a showcase gig on May 23rd at Stratford Playhouse with "Hot Music Live Presents" star Shanade
Wes & Jools will be back at the Magic Lantern on August 11th with Katrin, Ben & John as the Mechanicals Band (supported by Ellie Gowers) & Wes has another solo gig there on November 29th
You can also check out some of Wes' many projects at pages such as these: