The venerable halls of the Arena Wien saw what was perhaps one of the best concerts this year on the 6.5.2014 coming in the form of Wallis Bird duly supported by local hero Chris Shermer with two visceral performances that made the packed venue positively tingle with electric energy.
Mercurial guitar virtuoso Chris Shermer opened the evening with a contemplative set covering his entire range of roots blues music. He expertly combines fingerpicking with harmonica and pedal work to become a veritable one man band. The influence of his dual upbringing in Austria and Australia shines through in songs that are culturally transcendent and yet make you feel like you are right at home.
Shermer’s Labour of Love has carried plentiful fruit in the past years as he hones his craft further and he brings a calm and positive aura to the stage. This is the third time we got to work with Chris and in all honesty, he keeps improving.
His travels to far away places like Sri Lanka and Bali have proven to be a great influence in broadening his musical horizons, allowing him to deliver a mix of styles which is tribal yet refined. Surfers seek freedom and his lyrics often reflect his passion for life, memories and the rebel yell for freedom and change in this world. Highlights include the smooth „Soul Jam„, the technically amazing „My Guitar is a Woman“ and the heartwrenching „Everywhere„, written for the Austrian AIDS fund.
A highlight was his selfbuilt electric guitar which he used to great effect in his final piece showcasing ingeniuety and heavy distortion yet still fitting seamlessly into the rest of the set.
Reminiscent of a punky Janis Joplin, Irish Born Wallis Bird is enchanting audiences worldwide with her energetic live sets, raw emotions and technically strong rock’n’roll.
Situated somewhere between Singer Songwriter Acoustic, Punk Rock, Flower Power and Blues, Wallis encapsulates a lust for life that pours out during her shows. Before she came on stage there was a tangible electricity in the air as the crowd was waiting for her arrival, they were not disappointed. In a strong showing and possibly one of the best concerts Vienna has seen this year, she proceeded to tear the place apart and make it her own within moments of coming on stage.
Passion personified, Bird is an attractive and welcoming presence and the love and fun she carries for her music is infectious indeed and ignited the audience into dance. A free spirit, it is clear that she simply does her own thing and her fans rightly appreciate this element.
The new album ‚Wallis Bird‘ marks another progression, a record deliberately self-titled to mark it out as the defining statement of her career so far. So the confident strut that opens the first single ‚Encore‘ nestles alongside the astonishing vitriol of ‚Who’s Listening Now‘, the folky pledge of ‚In Dictum‘ and the almost carefree ‚Heartbeating City‘ – all disparate musical elements that go towards creating the whole that is Wallis Bird as a songwriter. The intimacy of the recordings captures the sound and smell of an acoustic guitar being pushed to its physical limits, the sense of a packed-out local bar being conducted in time and in thrall to the energetic, captivating presence who marshals every element.
– written by Nikki