Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Pearl / Tommy Reilly @ The Sugarmill 12th October 2009

Review by Sian Eardley

Photo by Chris Bostock

Rarely does a support act usurp a headliner in an almost anti-climatic fashion, but it is fair to say that the first acoustic act: “Pearl”, (usually of “Pearl and the Puppets”) stole the limelight off 19 year old Tommy Reilly. However, that isn’t to say that all hope was lost on Mr. Reilly and co. But…being so moved by the pure brilliance of Pearl, I feel it is only right to report on both musical musings of the night.
Firstly, I do have to note that the crowd were very unforgiving (in regards to all four acts on stage); with the average member being an excited 16year old girl, making it hard to tune in to anybody, for their constant screaming and yelling in anticipation for Tommy Reilly. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when the bands start getting agitated by it too, there are also rumbles amongst the audience. This didn’t exactly make for an electrifying atmosphere, especially for those respectable fans
who come to appreciate the music, so with this in mind; it did put a “downer” on the evening.
This aside, the show went on…

The lovely and magical “Pearl” floated on stage, in hand with acoustic guitar (as borrowed from co-support act “Roddy Hart”, who you should also look up), producing sounds slightly reminiscent of “Fiest”, but more importantly, it was music good for the soul. Her lullabies and romantic melodies are very much in fashion with the film release – “500 Days of Summer”, which has established it’s very own style in dress and music. Each song reminded me of Regina Spektor’s “Us” (from the 500 Days soundtrack), as she manages to captivate innocence, purity and beauty with every breath and strum, with lyrics: “Shame
to make you cry”, and “I dearly love you” just touching the iceberg.
Here elegance and grace were sadly overshadowed by the rowdy crowd as she sung “Love me like I do”, which was purely ironic as I loved the set even though it was hard work trying to hear what was happening on stage. Her music works as background music to your life or loved ones, or you can find yourself falling completely in love with her sentimental sounds as I did.

Her music was poetry, and moved like words noting a romantic novel. Her cover of “Use Somebody” was purely stunning. It did actually give me chills, and for once, the rest of the crowd did stop in recognition of this wonderful rendition. Besides the music, as an artist and as a person, she had a very sweet disposition and came across as the kind of gal you could get on well with down the pub.

She has to be my favourite discovered artist since… I don’t know when! “Pearl”/”Pearl and the Puppets” are a must see! She’s a rare gem and it was an honour to be able to witness such grace, refinement, and loveliness on stage.

And onto Tommy Reilly…
The first thing to probably note, is that he’s very different on record than live. On record, it becomes apparent that he’s influenced by Dylan, and give him 15-20 years, and he’ll be all distinguished and as husky. Also, he too, like Pearl, has the acoustic airwave thing going on, painting the impression of birds soaring in the air; just as light and delicate. Reilly makes the kind of music you’d stumble across at a festival in a lower-key tent, but of higher quality music.
So, I don’t know if it was the buzz and excitement
of having “just released an album last month” as he proclaimed on stage, or the hyperness of the pubescent audience, but a very different vibe was given than the heartfelt tracks found on his MySpace, (check out a track called “Telephone”).

He had a very childlike ambivalence; a naivety which met with the conviction of his chords; similar to The View’s “Kyle Falconer”. Reilly also has a generational appeal which gives off this “happy days” feel, as his music is very much “of its time” making for a light-hearted set, and one that sees you expect for him to break into The Libertines’ “Don’t Look Back into the Sun” at any point. Therefore, it is feel-good music to listen to, but it soon gets repetitive, relying on the powerful drum beats and choruses to pull it off, and carry them through. But then, during this very Scottish night (where all the acts hailed from, and even Reilly’s keyboardist bore a striking resemblance to Biffy’s “Simon Neil”) a jaw-dropper emerged. “Having No-one” had just as much romantic caliber and punch as one from Pearl’s repertoire, and
was almost familiar (beat-wise) to Peter, Bjork and John’s “Young Folks”, whilst the lines: “That’s why I’ve gotta find myself someone…’cause having no-one isn’t much fun” made my hair stand on end. The whole place was moved and made the whole highlight of the show, with tracks “Tell Me so” and “Jackets” being close contenders.

And so, not being an engaging act as hoped for, I’d still say to check Tommy Reilly out; whether on record or MySpace to get his full impact. I don’t know whether it was the vibe or the formula tonight where it didn’t quite work out, but Pearl was left glistening.

Tommy Reilly

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