LIVE REVIEW: Wilsen & John Joseph Brill at St Pancras Old Church

As a child, I grew up with the church. Every Sunday morning, we would venture out as a family for the hour or so to partake in prayer. Stepping back into a church for the first time in some years had quite a strange effect on me, especially due to the circumstances. Illuminated with candles and fairy lights, the church felt more like some of the earthy fashionista flats of South London rather than a place of worship. One thing was for sure though, tonight’s service would feature a rather different kind of eulogy.

Tonight’s support comes in the form of noir-folk troubadour, John Joseph Brill. Reverby guitars and astounding vocals bounce off arched ceilings and fills the room with a husky delight. Brill utilises his powerful vocals for maximum passion in ‘We Won’t Cry’ which has a of hint sentimentality, without getting overly gushy or saccharine.

Tentatively Tamsin Wilson takes to the stage unaccompanied, after setting the stage. Wilson picks up an electric guitar and starts to pick and delicately strum her way through ‘House On a Hill’, graceful and beautiful, she sings and whistles. It isn’t until a few songs into the set that Chris Worsey and Natalia Bonner join with a cello and a violin respectfully.

The addition of the strings is, to put it modestly, astonishing. Every slither and pluck feels perfectly timed and puts a totally new perspective on the already magnificent songs that Wilson writes. ‘Centipede’ is all the more harrowing in this setting, it’s almost as if Wilson is channelling some greater being, twisting and turning through the pews. Wilson treats us to a few new songs from the upcoming album. New single ‘Heavy Steps’ washes over like a dream, invigorated by the crowds response.

Modestly she leaves the stage, Wilson gave it all she had and still left the crowd with an appetite. What more could you want from someone of this calibre? If there’s one thing to learn from tonight’s performance, it’s that there’s a lot more to Wilsen than just great vocals and clever production. Wilson single handedly revealed her true colours, a shade of obsidian, modest yet inspirited.

Wilsen’s debut album ‘I Go Missing In My Sleep’ is released on 28th April via Dalliance & Secret City Records. Pre-order your copy here.

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