WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR – IN STORE AT ‘MUSIC’S NOT DEAD’, DE LA WARR PAVILION, BEXHILL-ON-SEA 22.02.2019
There’s a vast ocean of entertainment out there, but every now and then some real quality washes up on the beach. Cornish trio William The Conqueror are no strangers to the seaside town of Bexhill, having played there a number of times, and there was a palpable buzz of excitement amongst local music fans that they were returning to promote their new album, ‘Bleeding On The Soundtrack’.
Often described as a very British take on Americana, the band are much more than that, with a warm palette of sounds from fuzzy garage rock and dirty blues, to soaring atmospheric soundscapes. The lyrics are the ace card though, as songwriter Ruarri Joseph delivers achingly clever wordplay in a languid and sometimes semi-spoken style, often in contrast to the insistent grooves beneath. The walking bass lines of Naomi Holmes seem to swagger up her fretboard, as Harry Harding’s drum fills skip around the rack toms.
‘Bleeding On The Soundtrack’, the band’s second album (after their debut ‘Proud Disturber Of The Peace’), is the focus of tonight’s event. Local independent record store ‘Music’s Not Dead‘, much mourned after closing down last September, has re-emerged as a permanent pop-up in the cafe bar of the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill’s major arts centre and icon of modernist architecture. The large space, with panoramic views over the English Channel, has scope for in-store performances on a much grander scale than the former record shop, and proprietor Del Querns has laid in plenty of copies of the album, on white vinyl and CD.
The cafe bar fills rapidly when the doors open at 7pm, and the growing crowd is entertained by DJ Jonny Morris until the band takes the stage at 8pm. “Welcome back to Bexhill!” someone shouts, to a huge cheer, and we’re into the first number ‘Madness On The Line’. The opening groove has me imagining Wilko-era Dr Feelgood covering Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ It’s a lot of fun. Some ludicrously catchy ‘Whoo-ooh’ backing vocals follow, and then we’re off on Ruarri’s lyrical roller-coaster, riding through an emotional landscape of remembered adolescence. “Your answers on a postcard, and another breadcrumb trail. I’ve got madness on the line, and thunder in my sails…”.
The set is a mix of songs from the current album and the 2017 debut ‘Proud Disturber Of The Peace’, with good natured banter between band and crowd in the breaks. They are popular here, and there’s a warm and friendly atmosphere in the room. A glance around suggests a broad range of ages, musical tastes, and dancing styles.
The band plays for over an hour, though it seems all too brief. After a triumphant encore, they patiently sign the albums of a happy queue of old friends and new fans. This run of in-store performances and signings is followed by a spring tour. William The Conqueror will play at the Prince Albert in Brighton on 25th April – Purchase your tickets HERE.
Setlist: ‘Madness On The Line’, ‘Be So Kind’, ‘The Many Faces Of A Good Truth’, ‘Sunny Is The Style’, ‘The Curse Of Friends’, ‘Did You Wrong’, ‘Pedestals’, ‘Bleeding On The Soundtrack’, ‘Looking For The Cure’, ‘Thank Me Later’, ‘Tend To The Thorns’, ‘Sensitive Side’ (encore) ‘Cold Ontario’.
More information on William The Conqueror: williamtheconqueror.net
Further info on ‘Music’s Not Dead’ HERE.
See what’s on at the De La Warr Pavilion HERE.