Live Review: Ainslee Wills - Workers Club

14 May 2012 | 5:33 pm | Madeleine O’Gorman

Wearing a blue kimono-like jacket and red heels, the night’s leading lady beams onstage, looking genuinely overwhelmed by the turnout

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Like a scene straight out of Wayne's World, a cream-coloured Telecaster propped on display has the guitar fiends drooling. The starry stage serves as a shiny beacon for said apparatus, with fairy lights adorning the cosy platform. “This is about a guy I thought I'd get over in two weeks… a year later, I think I'm finally there.” Sans band, the pixie-like Lisa Salvo leaves an unparalleled imprint on the room, peeling back layer upon layer to reveal herself through a truly gorgeous, autobiographical performance. Her ethereal vocals drive her folk-pop melodies, requiring only minimal acoustic to carry each tune. She's a born storyteller, singing, “You should've been publicly ridiculed,” in the sweetest of voices. Her presence, much like Cat Power, remains long after she leaves the stage.

The now packed room is heated and ready to turn it up a notch. Adelaide four-piece Gold Bloom blend dream pop and new-age folk with heady harmonies that ripple across the room. As tight as they are, their eyes are absent. It's a shame, as the crowd wait with baited breath for banter that never comes, ending with the promise, “We'll be a more awake tomorrow night.”

Wearing a blue kimono-like jacket and red heels, the night's leading lady beams onstage, looking genuinely overwhelmed by the turnout. Mind you, she's no stranger to success. Ainslie Wills' first single, Wide Load, was a triple j hit a few years back, one that's earned her the strong following here tonight. Straight up, she sounds like a fusion between Fiona Apple and Jeff Buckley, with the powerfully rich and emotive vibrato of the latter. There's a real sense of artistry as she experiments with beats and licks, never shying away from breaking rhythmic conventions. What's more, she feels it - in the way she moves and the way she sings - using her vast vocal range as a vehicle for her tales, rather than the reason for them. 

The steady funk of Wide Load is met with eager revelry, channelling the same vibe as Warpaint's Undertow. However, tonight belongs to Fighting Kind, the catchy first single off her upcoming debut LP, You Go Your Way I'll Go Mine. By this stage, that dreamy Telecaster has had a sweet workout. The crowd loves Wills and she loves the crowd, a connection that's bound by her warmth and a colourful live show. The band return for the encore, Ocean, and joke, “Thanks, we had nowhere to go!” Oh, how wrong they are.

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