Abi Wade – Live

25 Jan


Prince Albert: Wednesday, January 23 2013

While most acts will strive for one unique selling point, Abi Wade has got a bundle of them. Not only is her main instrument of choice the cello, but it’s complimented by a pair of peddles for percussion and the novel beat-producing device that is ‘whacking-the-cello-with-a-stick’.

And she does it all. At the same time. Without a loop pedal in sight.

That alone is an impressive enough musical feat, but throw into the mix a collection of leftfield, idiosyncratic songs which somehow create a sum greater than their constituent parts, and we’re on to a winner.

Take Heavy Heart for example – the sparse beats and restrained cello not only nailed the xx’s knack of giving a song plenty of room to breathe – but also allowed Wade’s distinctive and impressively direct vocals to dominate. Somehow, improvisational charm was transformed into a cleverly crafted arrangement.

Similarly, A Bit Like Love continued the less-is-more theme while also proving she can master the traditional approach as she ditched the cello and gizmos for a beguiling a ballad on the piano – again characterised by a voice that can be both stark and subtle.

Wade is a must-see live act but, because she sits down to perform,that is easier said than done. If you’re more than three rows back in a venue like this, you’ll barely glimpse a thing. Someone needs to build her a plinth – performances like this clearly prove she deserves one.


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