A win­dow opened briefly on a world we knew and which will come again. Being able to go to a gig – social­ly dis­tanced though it was -– brought into sharp focus just what has been miss­ing from life. It’s ulti­mate­ly about the music but it’s every­thing else besides – the cama­raderie that comes from being in a good crowd, meet­ing oth­er music lovers, and just that euphor­ic feel­ing that car­ries you into the next week. 

Actu­al­ly Sat­ur­day’s per­for­mance was the sec­ond gig of that week. I saw Cro­magnon at Isling­ton Assem­bly Hall where the venue was try­ing out its Covid capa­bil­i­ties and it was a shame after all the effort made that it was not well attended.

In con­trast, on Sat­ur­day Folk­lore in Hox­ton was sold out and, being small or to use cor­rect ter­mi­nol­o­gy, inti­mate, had a buzzy and wel­com­ing vibe with plen­ty of can­dles dot­ted around and the stage decked out in a kind of Christ­mas-meets-fes­ti­val style.

I was there to see Luca Wild­ing, who I’ve been a fan of since being drawn in by his dra­mat­ic sum­mer sin­gle Heartachers. His EP called ‘To’ was launched at the end of November.

For his open­ing num­ber, he played Mas­ter, a song I’d only heard for the first time this week. It’s one that instant­ly draws you in, a beau­ti­ful and mes­meris­ing track with a some­what Latin feel and a great depth of emotion. 

Wild­ing’s lyrics are always intrigu­ing and Mas­ter is no excep­tion. With his songs there is the feel­ing of being dropped into the mid­dle of a com­pli­cat­ed – and often painful – nar­ra­tive. Sim­i­lar­ly Ruby, Don’t Cry, a song that found its inspi­ra­tion from a brief meet­ing with a woman on a train, cre­ates a pow­er­ful, visu­al image. 

On stage, Luca is an engag­ing, nat­ur­al and relaxed per­former although he admit­ted he had felt ner­vous as this was his first live gig for two years. I just hope we can see Wild­ing and oth­ers on fes­ti­val and venue stages next year.

Was­sail­er took to the stage next with his band – they’re an urban folk col­lec­tive from South-East Lon­don, with two trum­pet play­ers. With soul­ful vocals, their mate­r­i­al is a joy­ful mix of gen­res. The set became more vibrant as it gath­ered pace and it was dif­fi­cult to resist the urge to get up and dance. Espe­cial­ly dur­ing ‘Set­tle­ment’ which con­tained one of those slinky bass lines designed to get you moving. 

Was­sail­er have a new album out called i, the bas­tard which they sug­gest would make a fine Christ­mas present. It would also make a great par­ty sound­track – if you’re allowed to have one.

Folk­lore, Hack­ney Road.
Luca Wild­ing

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