Emily Wells at the Water Rats
Emily Wells, Texan violinist, drummer, percussionist, analogue keyboardist and all-round femme extraordinaire, arrives in King’s Cross for her London debut, several years after she self-admittedly dreamed of doing so. Wells states near the end of her all-too-brief set that “I’ve wanted to play this city since the first time I picked up an instrument”. What piece of equipment this was is not made clear, but she plays around with a dazzling array of gadgets throughout the set, creating her own instrumental loops whilst performing, rather than using pre-recorded ones. The effect is impressive and, despite some reverb difficulties beyond her control, she creates a vibrant soundscape that seems out of kilter with the lone über-talented musician on stage.
There are four acts on the bill this evening, but it’s thoroughly (and quite unfairly) clear to the others that the greater proportion of the audience are here to see Ms Wells. They wander outside for cigarettes or sit in the front bar for the other acts, but the back room is rammed for her second-on-the-bill set.
Much of the attention must surely be due to the use of Well’s Before the Color and an additional collaborative track on the soundtrack for the recent movie Stoker, which stars Nicole Kidman. The overwhelmingly female audience laps up every piece, but the relative brevity of the performance counts against her. The complexity of her instrumentation requires some confidence building and a 30-minute set is insufficient for her to fully get in the flow. She finishes with the potent Passenger before returning for a cover of Peggy Lee’s Fever. It’s all so arresting, but we need a little or a lot more. The audience asks her about a rumoured return London gig, but she’s flirtatiously coy. It’ll happen, and when it does, you’ll be missing a trick if you don’t go.
Photos: Lucia Hrda
For further information and future events visit Emily Wells’s website here.
Watch the video for Passenger here: