The cult following that turned up to watch English singer-songwriter Will Varley play the Edinburgh Voodoo Rooms on 11 February wouldn’t have expected anything less though. It was a memorable night for various reasons, and one of the most engaging and entertaining we’ve attended in some time.
Will has been making a name for himself touring with the likes of Frank Turner and The Proclaimers, and winning over most who hear him with his unique brand of folk, combining catchy melodies with clever lyrics that’ll have you questioning humanity one moment and laughing out loud the next.
That last synopsis was a perfect summarisation for the live performance in Edinburgh, the second date on Will’s ongoing UK headline tour after an opening night in Newcastle.
Will endeared the audience from the start, but a slip of the mind and some forgotten words slightly slowed the pace in the early moments. Not that the crowd seemed to mind.
What followed was a performance which will have left all in the room wondering how Varley hasn’t already become a nationwide favourite. His distinctive voice is backed up with wondrous wit, and his wit legitimised through the serious topics he goes on to tackle.
Renditions of ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’, ‘We Don’t Believe You’, ‘Weddings & Wars’, above, and ‘Self-Checkout Shuffle’ captured the full range of Will’s appeal. The former deals with the death of a 21 year old who fell from a plane while emigrating; it’s a tragic tale told through a wonderful ballad. The latter is founded on the frustrations of trying to use a self-service checkout. It’s hilarious.
The selling point for many though will have been the personal nature of the performance. Will was more than happy to take the time for audience suggestions, chats with the crowd, general chatter and more between songs. It was an intimate, welcoming night formed around a stellar setlist.
If you’ve not come across Will Varley before, then make sure you give his back catalogue a listen when you get a chance. We can only hope we’ll be hearing a lot more from the artist in the future.