Music

Birdy, Wilton’s Music Hall, review: a masterful show, full of beautiful noise


British musician Birdy has been at this for a long time. She rose to fame as a teenager with her sweet, melancholic covers of pop songs and has now matured into an excellent songwriter in her own right – her new album Young Heart is out on 30 April. Her gorgeous, twinkly livestream concert, replete with string section and full band, was a reminder of the power of live music.

Dressed in a full white gown – a little bit Stevie Nicks, a little bit Nashville – she looked like an angelic toilet doily. As she floated between a grand piano and various mics around the Music Hall, her transitions had the silent awkwardness of a school concert – I’m not sure it was truly necessary to have her schlep upstairs for one song – but her voice was impeccable (and thankfully we were spared any between-song chatter). Despite the new full-bodied arrangements, you could really hear the difference between her existing songs and the new tracks, all of which have a depth that she was perhaps lacking as a younger artist.

She harked back to her earliest days with a handful of covers; the xx’s “Shelter” opened the show, just Birdy at the piano reminding us of why she has been so well embraced by the music industry, and a very fun, elegant rework of Phoenix’s “1901” was also excellent.

One slight problem I have with Birdy is that songs tend to flow into one another when she gets into her comfort zone; I felt confident I wouldn’t miss much if I popped to the bar (kitchen) for a beer (glug of whatever was open in the fridge) as she cast a warm vibe through my living room.

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Birdy performed a gorgeous live-stream concert at Wilton’s Music Hall (Photo: Gobinder Jhitta)

Towards the end of the 80-minute set, I can’t say that my attention didn’t wander, but often she had me rapt; the fullness of the music and the dusty glamour of the music hall really reminded me of how lovely it is to be in a room full of people you don’t know, all experiencing the same emotions at the same time.

Though she is nowhere near this status (yet), the set had a feel of a festival headline about it, perhaps thanks to the lighting which flitted between deep spotlights and fairylights glinting like torches in the distance.

The handclaps and harmonies of “Deepest Lonely”, the richness of “People Help the People” and “Voyager”, which sounds like lying in a meadow in the warmth of the sun, had me yearning for summer, while a raucous cover of The National’s “Terrible Love” gave the show a much needed injection of energy in the final third – the cellist went for it so hard that his bow was ragged at the end.

A masterful livestream, full of beautiful noise, if this is anything to go by then seeing the newly confident Birdy in the flesh will be a real treat.



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