I love when I hear something that really gets in the bones and keeps me humming long after I have travelled away from a performance. Something that simply makes me want to sway. A couple of weeks ago I journeyed to Whitby to the MusicPort Festival and had the great privilege to see Pete Williams, formerly of Dexys Midnight Runners, play to an eager crowd. And, I got all that I had anticipated from him as he proved his ready talent…rhythm, melody, character, and a bit of vulnerability when he took the stage.
Firstly, his timeless, quirky, dandy look that has a nod towards that of a teddy boy from a bygone era, suits his music ably and indeed marks him out as an individual with a set idea of the intention he is there to create. Sure, you can hear an echo of Dexys in his catalogue. However, there is an earthiness in his voice and coupling that with a slight ode to artists such as Buddy Holly and Elvis Costello, he defines himself as an artist who has a handle on what the message is in his music. He writes about what he knows and it translates perfectly through his talented delivery of vocals and command of song writing execution. His music is a colourful fusion of soul, blues, rockabilly and a bit of jazz and ska and its clear his music is rooted in his DNA.
There were two standouts in his performance for me, the first of which was ‘Roughnecks and Roustabouts’, the title of his most recent album. It had the requisite drama in the delivery of his soaring vocals and the tight musicality of his 4 piece band. ‘So Far, So Good’ was equally luminous and had heavy helpings of solid, plucky guitar and a strong rhythm that sucks you in. In fairness, his whole set was fully enjoyable from the first note. And, the audience responded in kind and raised plenty of huge cheers.
Williams is an effortless singer/songwriter and his well-made performances demonstrate his reflective, observant nature and its clear his music is the fundamental core of his existence and he comes across as a truly gifted musician.
See Pete at his upcoming gig here!
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