Wednesday, December 12, 2012

50. Willis Earl Beal - Acousmatic Sorcery (XL)

I took my mum to see Willis Earl Beal recently. Part way through his set, as he chugged on a bottle of Jack Daniels, I caught her looking at him with the very same look that she’s supposed to save for me, her only daughter. It’s her ‘I do worry about you drinking too much’ look. The look that never dies.
"I think he’s troubled" she says to me.
She’s concerned about him falling off that chair he’s stood on, I can tell. Because of the Jack Daniels. This isn’t the time or the place for debate.
As the gig ends, I talk to a friend. In the corner of the room, Willis Earl Beal is hugging my mum. I leave them to it. They look like they’re having a moment. As we walk back to the bus stop, she sighs; says she’s worried for him. Momentarily, I morph into some kind of grown-up-hipster version of Kevin the Teenager.
Oh God, mum, pleeeease tell me you didn’t tell him you thought he was troubled?
I did, actually. And he agreed.
‘Well of course he would!’ I screamed inside, ‘he’s a performer, he wants your sympathy, your attention; it’s all part of his plan! You fell for it’
It wasn’t until I woke up the next day and had processed the performance in my sleep that it really resonated with me. During that Jack-drenched 40 minutes or so, Willis Earl Beal had – quite genuinely – reminded me of a young Patti Smith; the passion, the fervour, his delivery, the sense of a desperate soul, trying to break free from convention. That’s a pretty bold claim, for sure.

via Drowned in Sound

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