Londonist Live: The Wrens @ ULU : 17 February 2007

By Talia Last edited 141 months ago
Londonist Live: The Wrens @ ULU : 17 February 2007

Last Saturday, Londonist went to see at ULU on the personal recommendation of a friend. It's good practise to write live gig reviews, at most two days after the event, so you'd be justified in thinking that this is a little late in arriving. Luckily we have an excuse. Alas, the hamster did not eat our review, because that would be predictable but fixable. The Wrens performed a much rarer feat. They left us speechless.

We have to admit that there were moments when we really didn't "get" it and were wondering when the next moment of indie melody or rhythmic musical wallpaper would get us nodding appreciatively. This is perhaps part of the charm of The Wrens. They don't make it easy for their audience, but they do engage them and reward them. The most obvious example of this, and one which will no doubt crop up in every review, was the moment when the band invited the audience onto the stage to provide a huge rhythm section for "Faster Drum". Despite the fact that at least 20 fans were pounding the stage with their standard issue drumsticks, it still managed to remain delicate. The whole gig seemed to consist of layer upon layer of musical styles and arrangements, but in a purposeful and skilled way rather than the unintelligible mush that is so often a result of attempting this kind of live performances.

They may have been going for years and are certainly more mature than most of their current musical peers (The regular drummer even had to stay home because of day-job commitments) but The Wrens were a delightful change from the self assured but world-weary attitude of so many bands around at the moment. The band has been through the mill when it comes to courting labels and now they just don't care. Kevin Wheelan jumped around like a crazy man, they enlisted the help of a random fan and they even stuck around in the bar afterwards. The Wrens are passionate, insane, talented and utterly unpredictable. The high points of the live show didn't tally in any way with the high points of their recorded material and they are impossible to pigeon hole when it come to a musical style.

The Wrens have now gone back to the studio (their basement) to record their next album. Last time it took them 4 years, so that should just about give us time to get our head around the last one.

Words by Gill Rickson.

Last Updated 24 February 2007