There are many ways in which you can ascertain the fact that Will Varley is your mate despite having never actually met him before. Here are some of those ways:
Think back to when you were 16 years old. You had that one friend’s house where everyone used to go and hang out in the attic. There were bean bags and a magnetic dart board. Lots of discount Tesco 'cola'. There you are. Back there again. With all your mates. In a circle. And Will Varley’s there! Of course he’s there. Your mate Will. Wearing the same checked shirt he always wears and having that beard he has even though nobody else has yet come close to facial hair. Will Varley picks up the guitar in the corner, plays a few riffs and sings a few lyrics you don’t recognise and then stops. It’s nice. You ask him to play more but he gets slightly embarrassed and puts the guitar down whilst making a humorous jest. You can picture it, right? Will Varley is humble. Will Varley is your mate.
You say “maybe I should grow a beard” to the rest of the group and they laugh. You say “but Will has one!” and someone says, “yeah, but that’s Will” and everyone understands what they mean. Will pats you on the back. Will Varley is your mate.
You haven’t seen much of Will Varley lately because he’s been doing the whole guitar thing seriously now for a while. He’s not on Facebook or social media that much but when you do catch him, he’s the same old Will. You go along and see him at an open mic night and he’s glad to see you. He buys you a Guinness and dedicates a song to you. He’s definitely the best of the night, though the skinny-jean, leather-jacket, emptied-bottle-of-gel-on-head American thrash-violinist admittedly didn’t set the highest standard. Someone asks Will if he has a CD they can buy and Will hands him one. He introduces you to the stranger and you all have a drink. Will Varley is your mate, whoever you are.
*this bit actually happened.
Will Varley is not a Tory. Because Will Varley is your mate and your mates are not Tories.
It’s years later! Will Varley is playing at La Belle Angele in Edinburgh. This review is finally starting to get to the actual point and from here on out is not fictionalised! Hurray! Will has played the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh numerous times before, but this is a bigger venue.
A man in the crowd shouts “I love you Will” and Will replies “thank you mum”. You laugh. So does everyone else.
He asks the crowd: “would you rather hear a song about an e-mail or a cat” and the crowd goes wild. ‘I Got an E-Mail’ from 2013’s ‘As the Crow Flies’ is the eventual winner of the closely contested voice-ometer battle and the crowd sings every word. Will Varley substitutes his delusional David Cameron character in the song for Theresa May, and Nick Clegg for Boris Johnson.
Will Varley tries to do a Scottish accent during this song. Will Varley cannot do a Scottish accenth. Will Varley is not offensive however, because as previously detailed, he is your mate.
Will Varley mentions Donald Trump’s State of the Union. Rather than talking through the details, Will says “it was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen”. Will Varley is relatable and not a Tory and thinks Donald Trump is a strange human being. Will Varley is your mate.
Having opened with some old crowd-pleasers - ‘As for My Soul’, ‘Weddings and Wars’, ‘Seven Days’ (not a cover of the Craig David song) - Will brings on a band for the first time in his career - minus the three previous dates of this particular tour - and it all flows naturally and sounds great. The new songs get a great reception. Will talks the crowd through the story behind ‘Spirit of Minnie’ and how it was based on a story a taxi driver in Minneapolis told him. Will Varley is an interesting human being.
Will Varley also tells the story of ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ before playing it. A song about Jose Matada, a refugee who fell from the undercarriage of a Boeing 747 flight from Angola. It is tear-jerking. There is a lot of variety in Will Varley’s songs. The recurring theme however, is that they are interesting, unique, and thought-provoking.
Will Varley tells the crowd that his wife is pregnant, and the crowd cheers, because Will Varley is their mate and as such they are happy for him.
Will comes on for his encore and plays ‘King for a King’, and when the line “watch out son, you’ve got a baby!” plays, the whole crowd cheers and points at Will, to remind him that he is now expecting a baby, in case he had forgotten. Will stops to say thank you for the ongoing cheers, and it’s a very nice moment for all concerned.
Will Varley is your mate. Go on out there and support your mate Will.
A full interview with Will Varley will be dropping on Just For Culture soon! Stay tuned to the site. Will's fifth studio album 'Spirit of Minnie' is out everywhere from 9 February 2018.