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REVIEW: Ryley Walker @ Komedia, Brighton, 29/05/2017

The Verse’s Lou Clement reviews Ryley Walker who performed at Komedia, Brighton, on Monday 29 May 2017

I was in the basement of the lovely Komedia for this Bank Holiday Monday gig, to see 27-year-old Ryley Walker and his band play. I had been listening to his music on playlists over the previous few weeks in preparation.

The sound he created was intense; the vocals often weren’t the central feature of the tracks. At times, his music genre crossed boundaries, ending up somewhere between folk and jazz. It felt reminiscent of a different era. There was something soothing, psychedelic and intense about his melodies.

In person, I was almost knocked off my feet by the difference that the live performance made. I’d been feeling a bit blue after Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell’s recent passing – and new music was definitely the antidote to this loss.

Hovering to the right of the stage, Walker quipped about fish and chips and getting stoned on the beach. There was a relaxed and carefree attitude to his presence. The audience were incredibly receptive to him.

There wasn’t much time for talk though. Each song seemed epic and the three-minute tune was not what the band had in store for us. Instead, each song seemed to last around fifteen minutes. I had read a review of one of his previous gigs and someone said he closed his eyes when he played, which he did at the Komedia gig. I was lost in the music that he was giving, up on stage.

The rapport between the band was also special; the sound they created together was meditative, uplifting and at times joyful. The drums stitched the long repetitive notes together into a complex and evocative musical fabric. It reminded me of traditional Indian music, where the tabla and the singer’s voice deliver epic introspective works.

Seconds gave way to minutes as notes seemed to traverse time, hone it and deliver an almost mystical experience. A grand performance.


Featured image courtesy of Komedia Press

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