Meilyr Jones. I had heard his name at least 30 times. A good friend of mine recommended him to me, told me to see him at The Great Escape but I ended up not being able to make it. So when he told me I should come along to see him at the Village Underground, I said yes, ready to finally see what this Welsh art-pop wonderboy was all about. And I have to say I was not disappointed.
After the opening track How to Recognize a Work of Art, when he was dressed in all red – inspired by his music video for the track – he quickly went backstage to change. What followed was approximately one and a half hours of performance, that didn’t give you a single moment to get bored.
It’s clear that Meilyr and his band share a special bond and have been doing this for a while. Wordlessly communicating, everyone synced up perfectly and barely a note went astray, while still having the exact kind of groove when you want to start dancing. With that many excellent multi-instrumentalists on stage, who clearly know their craft, integrating trumpets, a sax and violins perfectly in Meilyr’s art-pop world, it created an audible shockwave that is pure energy and makes for a delightful listen.
Meilyr Jones has the gift of an incredibly strong and effortlessly seeming stage presence. Whether that is jumping around or just standing behind a piano. And whenever he spoke to the audience or made jokes, you could hear affectionate laughing from all around. It felt like absolutely everyone in the room adored him, which is something you can hardly escape. His charmingly real personality shines through in chit chat with the audience but also in his lyrics, which are serious, but playful.
Every time there was a rather quiet part, the audience was so engrossed you could hear a needle drop. When something clattered to the ground accidentally, Meilyr just sent a cheeky smile in that general direction.
The last song was completely unplugged. In the front were the two violins and Meilyr, just singing into the room. The trumpets in the back, once again, gave the track a whole new world of ambience.
If you don’t know him and there’s ever a Meilyr Jones gig near you and you have nothing better to do, please go. It’s worth it.