Birdy at Wilton’s Music Hall online
It seems like a moment in the distant past that one could see musicians live, as intended – almost as long as it seems like Birdy has been around. First drawing attention as a teenager at the start of the last decade, the singer-songwriter (real name Jasmine van den Bogaerde) is perhaps easily dismissed, another inexplicably popular doe-eyed, bedraggled ruminator in want of a John Lewis advert. Yet with her livestream from London’s Wilton’s Music Hall she shows she is far more than that, and well worth a listen for any discerning music fan.
Opening with her popular cover of The xx’s Shelter, she instantly captures the attention of even the listeners who could be programmed to take against its hippyish presentation. What follows is an expertly curated and musically clever set that gradually builds throughout its runtime. Of particular note is the work of cellist Barney Morse-Brown, whose expert musicianship emphasises the depth added by Birdy’s orchestra, through hits like Not About Angels and People Help the People.
The result is a set that one imagines the singer intended – one that allows a deeper window into her music than a quick listen on Spotify might offer, where admirable piano lines and vocals are given their true context. One you can lose yourself in.
By the time she reaches the climax of the instantly recognisable Wings and her biggest hit, Skinny Love, the audience is very aware that this is a musician whose work shouldn’t be soundtracking adverts, but seen live. That’s a testament to Birdy and her band, who animate songs that in lesser hands might have been a turn-off, but here are moments that take flight. The enjoyable but non-anthemic Celestial Dancers or Surrender, rather than being placeholders or new material, are uplifting.
Ultimately, the livestream format shows why acts like Birdy, Lucy Rose or First Aid Kit need live music to return: the joy and depth of their work can’t really be fully experienced through a computer or TV speaker, but what’s admirable about this performance is that Birdy gives fans the next best thing.
For further information and future events visit Birdy’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Shelter here: