The Verse’s Louise Conway reviews Will Varley’s show at the Komedia on the 17th November.
Will Varley is a complete one-man show. After his recent touring around “rowdy bars in America”, he enjoyed the fantastic, calm setting of the Komedia that allowed Varley to perform some of his more intimate songs, creating a truly unforgettable and touching experience for the audience. And tonight, Varley has complete control over the gig. He stands alone on stage, holding only his guitar and two beers at his side – a complete contrast to the 7-piece band Coco Lovers that took the stage before him (clutching a whole host of instruments and at times even playing a saw as beautifully as a violin, they’d previously filled the room with intricate sounds and a display of their technical prowess).
In a time when the world is becoming more and more divided, Varley brings the room together, which falls silent to hear his passionate thoughts on topical issues, both global and local. The song To Build A Wall has never resonated more. But Varley has plenty of experience with live performances and is able to lift the audience’s spirits back up. Soon the audience is singing along to songs about viral cat videos and e-mails from foreign Princes. Varley jokes – telling that one of his songs was written in a Premier Inn – yet the song is so worldly that is hard to imagine. His lyrics are thoughtfully constructed, pulling at a range of emotions, covering huge topics. It seems quite impossible that they could all be created in a single room.
He plays captivating new songs from his recent fourth album, which he boasts is the first one not to be printed off his mum’s computer. It is clear Varley is going to go places, his songs are too potent to not be shared. However, he has around him an immense support from local musicians and the community of great talent, so we know he will not be going alone. There is an encore for just long enough for Varley to walk back in with another beer. He plays another mesmerising new song and finishes with King for a King, possibly his most well-known track and a brilliant end to a brilliant show; an exhibition filled with songs full of messages that will remain with me for a long time.