Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 06/06/2011 | Wallis Bird – O2 Academy, Oxford

06/06/2011 | Wallis Bird – O2 Academy, Oxford

Lisa Ward


You know you’re witnessing something pretty special when you don’t even notice until half way through that the singer is playing a right handed guitar upside down. It’s this random fact, coupled with a second involving Wallis Bird’s fingers and a lawn mower accident which perhaps go some way to defining magic she creates. Fingers aside, Wallis is something of a whirlwind on stage, stamping her feet, tossing her head and singing as if she is exorcising ever last bit of emotion she has to offer. Her distinctive playing style is simply an afterthought, overridden by the humour and energy that carries the set.

Despite playing solo, Blossoms In The Street contains just as much punch as the album version and instantly conjures up illusions of the type of music P!nk might have created if she had not been lead astray by the sheen of the industry. ‘Drum solo’ she yells mid set, before laughing, and yet drum solo she delivers during Meal Of Convenience, as her foot stamping creates just as much noise and rhythm as an accompanying drummer might have provided. Yet amid the banter and gravelly upbeat numbers, Bird also layers in the heartfelt number Measuring Cities, of which half is delivered without a mic over a quietened guitar to a hushed crowd.  Here her voice softens, marking its diversity and giving justification to comparisons to the likes of Ani DiFranco and Fiona Apple.

New song I Am So Tired Of That Line becomes a rousing anthem for modern times and as she sing ‘You’ll find the food and I’ll make the babies. I am so tired of that line’ she’s offered a cheer of approval from the predominantly female crowd. Suffice to say whilst she might have been quiet for a few years, To My Bones and The Circle have not tired, and judging by the reaction to the autobiographical In Dictum there’s a re-emergence of Bird’s fiery folk-rock sound just around the corner.