Ainslie Wills @ Workers Club
Ainslie Wills is something quite special. To be specific, it’s the way she sings. She’s a fine musician, with fingers deft on guitar strings to pick out melodies and drive her songs along with gentle, urgent rhythms and she fronts a tight, accomplished band, but it’s her voice that’s really, really, something else.
Second support act, Adelaide’s Gold Bloom were brilliant in their own way, a fringe and guitar heavy four-piece that makes full use of its three female vocalists to build soaring, looping harmonies around urgent indie-pop guitars and drumming. They were very good; highly recommended.
But then Wills took the stage, and showed off more vocal prowess than the three singers preceding her combined. She’s got chops; whether she’s soaring along over the top of the band or out the front, alone in a vocal break with maybe a plaintive guitar to keep her company.
Controlled, precise, heartbreakingly clear one minute, then sunk into the kind of vibrato that few singers (Jeff Buckley and Edith Piaf, maybe) could get away with. The way she sings is thrilling, earthy, seeped in emotion, almost a guilty pleasure; the kind of thing that would be embarrassing to listen to if it wasn’t so good.
Luckily, it was good – when she started singing the smattering of chatter self-involved blowhards that infests most crowds in the Workers Club died and the crowd stared in rapt appreciation. From the first notes of jagged folk/rock to the last notes of Fighting Kind, the lush, cinematic single the Ainslie Wills Band was launching, they took us somewhere special.
BY LIAM PIEPER
LOVED: All of it.
HATED: Could have used a bigger venue.
DRANK: Nothing, much. Your humble reviewer was still a bit sideways from Andrew WK last week.