Alela Diane and her band, Wild Divine, put on an accomplished and intriguing live show, featuring old and new songs, as well as a cover of I Am A Child by Neil Young. The new material dominated, drawing mainly from the latest album Alela Diane & Wild Divine. Alela’s band, Wild Divine, who feature both her husband and her father, now come across as a fully-formed outfit, adding to the music as well as providing a backdrop to the songs. Alela’s husband, Tom Bevitori, provided most of the between-song banter, and there was a warmth on stage between the band members which transferred well to the audience, creating a great atmosphere for the night.
As a huge fan of Alela’s earlier albums, the country-rock of the new songs took some getting used to for me, but at this show I was won over by them. Stand-outs were the hauntingly beautiful The Wind, where the band really came into their own supporting Alela’s vocal, and the mournful country-rock of Heartless Highway. There was also room for the more folky earlier songs, with Alela treating us to solo versions of The Rifle and Oh! My Mama (a personal favourite which always has me in tears). For me, this was the best moment of the evening; Alela singing and playing acoustic guitar, with nothing to distract from the beautiful songs themselves.
However, when the band rejoined her for a blues-rock rendition of The Pirate’s Gospel, I was enthralled; I’d never heard this version of the song before and it really, really worked. For the encore, musician Dylan Le Blanc joined Alela onstage for a beautiful performance of I Am A Child, before Wild Divine reappeared for Every Path and White As Diamonds, two of the stand-out tracks from Alela’s second album To Be Still. An amazing gig.