Words By: Molly Schmidt
Bri Clark filled the place with her powerful voice. I remember we were all chatting amongst ourselves and then she started to sing. It sort of hit you in the guts. A lot of people looked up – she was mesmerizing.
Bri’s real talent with her voice seemed to be her diversity. She could go from a gorgeous soft beginning to a really strong soul-rock sound, as her voice peeled away from the other instruments, which, by the way, were really very cool. Drummer Zack Visser had such a presence – his face didn’t seem to change from a stoic peaceful expression for the whole gig. His red beard was long enough to have a drumstick of its own (comment stolen from one of my friends) and his beats really carried the music, right where it needed to be. Rob Di Giallonardo’s guitar was rocking and neat, its interwoven melodies dancing under Bri’s voice.
The most amazing moment was when Bri took the stage alone, behind her keyboard. “This is going to sound really different,” she said, kind of nervously. The reverb heavy keys resonated through the room with this deep sort of sadness. After sounding so punchy in her previous songs, her voice was now so soft, a sort of lullaby, but sung with the same power and emotion. It took the first few minutes of the song for me to recognise it. Bri was leaning over the keyboard, pouring her heart out. “You know I love you so,” she sang with the power of an opera singer and feeling of a soul artist. It was Yellow by Coldplay. Bri’s version gave me goosebumps. It was almost unrecognisable, in a way that made it truly her own version of the song.
If She Calls showcased Bri’s huge vocal range, and in this song she seemed to really fill the stage as a powerful female singer standing for what she believes in. “She won’t apologise for what she likes,” is a line I remember well.
I loved Bri’s honesty on stage. She was so sure of herself while singing, and yet when she stopped and talked to us she looked like she was still a bit excited about the fact that we were all there, to listen to her. She told us her song Stay was for that time when you “mistake a soul mate for a life lesson.” It was a song everyone could relate to, and the way Bri clearly really felt what she was singing meant it really resonated with us too.
I was surprised how much I was grooving, but Pete Robinson’s bass really gave your hips something to swing to. And now, we have to talk about Bri’s little brother. My god. Reece Clark played keys for most of the gig, giving the songs their full-bodied sound, but his real moment came in the last two songs, when he picked up a saxophone and totally stole our hearts. The kid was amazing. There’s just something about saxophone, and he really did it well. He and Bri connected deeply on stage, Bri looking across and smiling at him so big it looked like she might burst.
At the end of the gig, Bri joined us in the crowd to dance for the following act, Wanderlust Music. These guys were super special. Their first song started out with a haunting gypsy like opening, as baby guitar joined trumpet and echo-y keys. The harmonies shared by Jade Richards and George Gunson were divine, reminding me a bit of Angus & Julia Stone, whilst Shannon Puig’s trumpet gave me Cat Empire vibes. Jade really captured my attention for a lot of the gig, with her long hair and massive smile, gypsy dance moves and soul/folk voice.
Alexander was a favourite of mine, in which Jade did some crazy tambourine dancing, harmonies were on point, and the drums just really picked up in a way that forced your feet to dance. I think Cam Watkin’s drums were a huge part of the upbeat feel of this band. His drumming had a kind of festival feel, it made me feel excited and it sure looked like the crowd, who came forward to crazy dance right in front of the band, felt the same way.
Keyboard player Bradley Green was the hidden gem of the band. He seemed really humble, quietly sitting there with no fuss, while making the keyboard rumble and tinkle fantastically.
Jade blew me away as she sang Chet Faker’s Gold. The song began with the band just clicking their fingers, and Jade totally nailing the vocals, which, when covering Chet, isn’t easy. Michael Anstee-Brook’s bass was super smooth, as this song really showcased the band’s diversity in genre.
A favourite of mine was Lighting Storm, introduced by George Gunson, who said it was about “family annoying you” with a cheeky grin. The lyrics were really lovely, one particular line was still in my head after the gig; “There we are in the backseat of your car, in each other’s arms through the lighting storm”. It seemed to be about conflict within family, but the strong bond that exists through everything, pulling you together to make it “through the lightning storm.”
Wanderlust finished with a crowd of people in front of them, as the audience span each other around and danced with their arms round each other. They felt like a folk/soul band from the sixties, with psychedelic trumpet and sweet harmonies. Jade was the gypsy queen and George was the joker—their music had us wishing they would play until morning. It was so refreshing to see people connecting and dancing freely, and the last page of my notebook says “I have to put my notebook down and dance” – so clearly the gig ended well for me.
Make sure you catch Bri Clark’s single and music video launch at The Boston this Friday @ 8pm. Sweet support acts including my all time faves Joni in the Moon. You can catch Wanderlust Music next on the 19th December for Flow Fest, which I’ve heard, is the place to be if you love live music, food, camping and yoga.