[Live] Willy Mason

Willy Mason, Rohin Jones
The Vanguard
22 October 2012

“It was a dark and stormy night…” joked American singer-songwriter Willy Mason. On a cold evening opened by Rohin Jones’ solo project, the Vanguard showcased a “revolving door of musicians”, including Jake Tarasenko (formerly of Boy & Bear) and two of The Delta Riggs members, Elliott Hammond and Michael ‘Monte’ Tramonte.

Rohin Jones’ drummer was wrapped up in a winter coat and beanie, and the lead guitarist stood side-on the entire set to face the singer- who seemed to be in a world of his own. With a long beard draping onto his semi-acoustic, the melodic mumblings from the former frontman of The Middle East weaved itself into the overall sound.

It wasn’t until I was sitting cross-legged by the stage and staring up at the lava-lamp projections on the ceiling that I let myself get into it. The set moved like sets of waves that became kindly overwhelming as the drum beat reached your core. The band were so comfortable onstage that someone had to tell them their set was over.

“My name is Willy Mason – you know that I guess”. Standing alone, centre-stage wearing a grey suit with a black electric guitar slung over his shoulder – the American songwriter embodied all those greats who had come before him. Sounding and performing beyond his 27 years, as soon as he began his set I never wanted him to finish. Taking time off opening for Mumford & Sons on their sell-out tour, Willy was excited to headline his own show for two intimate gigs in Sydney and Melbourne.

His set flowed beautifully, the solo songs were broken up by the revolving door of musicians which saw Jake Tarasenko’s first flute performance of ‘Show Me The Way To Go Home’ , and the addition of the Delta Riggs members bringing an extra kick with bass and drums to ‘Save Myself’.

By the time Willy performed ‘Oxygen’, he had broken my heart in the best kind of way. His rich and weathered voice sang in clarity as the lyrics took over. Surrounded by true fans (the ones that close their eyes, and sing along with passion), it was easy to get lost in the moment of an honest performance. I can only hope Willy’s upcoming album ‘Carry On’ captures what I heard on that dark and stormy Monday night.

Tanydd Jaquet
Originally published on thebrag.com

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