Jonathan Wilson

Concorde 2, Brighton, March 17


A buzzy select few turned out for Jonathan Wilson’s solo acoustic show at Bella Union Vinyl Shop earlier in the day.

Considering that it was St. Patrick’s Day you could’ve predicted that they’d be in even higher spirits when the full ensemble performed later in the evening at the near-brimming Concorde 2.

Set to a trippy visual backdrop, Wilson’s initial lead guitar work on his opening numbers mesmerised the noticeably sauced crowd as they gasped at his flowing fretwork.

The accompanying Hammond-esque organ offered a semblance of an atmosphere you’d expect from a 70s Californian romp, and I’d bet that if the majority of the crowd could grow their long hair back from former glories in an instant, then they’d bite your hand off.

“Shame there’s a barrier between us, I was hoping you guys would stage dive” Wilson joked just before he broke into Desert Raven. Played unexpectedly early in his set, the song encapsulates all that Wilson’s music represents - a feeling of weightlessness and exoneration from life’s many trepidations.

It’s evident that Wilson doesn’t embrace the role of frontman naturally, usually plying his trade as a producer to Father John Misty or lead guitarist to Roger Waters’ touring band, but he braved the chatty crowd to play a handful of ballads nevertheless.

Touring with the aforementioned Roger Waters clearly has had an impact on Wilson’s compositions, incorporating a more synth-laden aesthetic into his laidback almost healing psychedelic sound.

This was none more evident than on Over The Midnight and Loving Youfrom his latest album with title track Rare Birds further wowing, provoking pockets of the crowd into “la la la-la’s” at the song’s climax.

After briefly disappearing only to be swiftly urged back on stage, Wilson returned to for a rousing solo performance of Ballad of the Pines.

His band then rejoined him to conclude with an extended version of Valley of the Silver Moon - the audience was seemingly convinced that Wilson was born of the wrong era, as peace signs were held aloft throughout the finale.

Thomas Curtis-Horsfall