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  • Charity Shop Pop
  • Blackaby
Glasswerk @ Grand Central Hall 22/5/21

After a year of sipping red wine in her flat, WYLDEST jokes about how strange it feels to be out on the road again. She explains that her latest album, Monthly Friend, is a concept album that was inspired by events that took place in 2020, specifically the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements. Her feminist musings centre around empowerment and overcoming stereotypes and societal constraints; themes which seem very appropriate in what has been a time of reflection for many. After writing the songs during the summer of 2020, she recorded and mixed the album herself, and now she’s on the road for the first time without her accompanying band.

Like any other recent in-door event, tonight’s gig is socially distanced. A small bar in which a crowd is quietly seated at their tables threatens to be lacking in atmosphere but Wyldest and support acts CHARITY SHOP POP and BLACKABY manage to quickly avert this fear.

Ormskirk’s Charity Shop Pop kicks the night off with some up-beat indie tunes laced with references to Hugh Grant, heartbreak and isolation, followed by Blackaby who sits centre stage behind his flower adorned kick drum and well-worn guitar. He presents a lovely mixture of folk and indie with mellow storytelling lyrics reminiscent of Andy Shauf. His charming personality oozes out through his lyrics and those little moments of conversation between songs. The small size of the bar serves his set well as he asks Wyldest, who is stood at the back of the bar, to harmonise with him. This interaction serves to create the cosy and relaxed environment which characterises the gig and it’s made even better by the fact that their voices complement each other so well.

As the sun starts setting outside of the windows, Wyldest steps on stage. She wastes no time in creating an ambient atmosphere as her voice begins to melodically echo throughout the bar accompanied by some precise guitar picking. Her stripped back set feels very personal and the crowd, in complete dedicated silence, hangs on to every word. You can’t help but be reminded of performances by the likes of Billie Marten and Lucy Rose with their soft voices, emotionally intelligent lyrics and ability to captivate their audience. The kind of sets that make you forget that you’re in a bar in Liverpool and leave you shaking yourself back into reality when they’re over. There is something to be said about an artist who can stand alone on stage, guitar in hand and make an audience feel that way. Wyldest’s slick performance feels like an excellent way to ease back into live music.

Sarah took part in Bido Lito!’s Bylines writers programme, developing young culture writers of the future.  For more information and to find out about the next intake, visit bidolito.co.uk/workshops

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