81 Renshaw is a venue extremely well suited to host a Siobhan Wilson gig, especially when it is to promote her new album, There Are No Saints. The venue is compact and intimate, and works beautifully in portraying works with sparse, intricate arrangements. Hence Siobhan Wilson’s new album, one of haunting beauty, intricate and delicate, is in the perfect environment to allow her compositions to breathe and let her voice – yes that beautiful voice – to sensually whisper to us, or by counterpoint, to soar majestically.
Siobhan Wilson is a very fine singer, an accomplished musician, but also has in abundance the quality that some artists and performers lack – stage presence. Many a time the disconnect between artist and audience is glaringly obvious, but not so with La Wilson. She creates, like any true artist, her own world, and invites, beckons, cajoles her audience to join her in this world, to accompany her on the musical journey. She does this with a slight tilt of the head, a sweep of the hair, an overlong glance, a change of stance. And there she has us, transfixed.
This was also a very balanced set, the majority being gleaned from There Are No Saints, but also a nod towards 2014’s Glorified Demons (All Dressed Up) and a cover of Richard Thompson’s Bees Wing, ably assisted by Echo & The Bunnymen’s Jez Wright. This is a song which was equally apt, as it was supposedly influenced by Annie Briggs, and Siobhan Wilson shares a certain vocal lilt with her, to these ears anyway. Stand out songs – among this stand out set – was the powerful Incarnation, and the assured classic – in – waiting Make You Mine. But this is an occasion when the artistic controls were set and secured at 10, only to be pushed up to an 11 on these songs, but this is purely subjective.
There Are No Saints is a glorious record, and live, La Wilson adds stature to her compositions by pure magical artistry. On this showing, she will continue to make friends and fans throughout what I am sure will be a long and satisfying artistic journey. From the outside she gives the impression that she knows her own mind, her own artistic worth, and won’t be tempted to take the easy choice and sacrifice integrity by leaping on any retro bandwagon. Make the most of your opportunity to see her in these intimate settings, as I’m sure her fan base will grow exponentially. Along with her Art.