Bill Ryder Jones Brings his Melancholic Bliss to the Howard Assembly Room, 21/09

In addition to producing two of the arguably best English debut albums of the year (The Orielles’ Silver Dollar Moment and Our Girl’s Stranger Today), the former The Coral guitarist has also found time to record a new album. To be released in November, Ryder Jones will be touring the breadth of the country. Thus nestled in the heart of Leeds on a crisp Friday night, an opera house was converted into a conservatoire for the sweetest melancholic indie bliss around today.

Our Girl christened the stage with their divine fuzzy guitar. Together with the addition of Fern Ford from The Big Moon on drums, the three musicians showed their true musical prowess alongside lead singer Sop Nathan’s truly haunting vocals. Peering down from the balcony, the audience turned from simply a crowd of bobbing heads into a wave of synchronisation. Set seating turned what could have been a vaguely rowdy crowd into domesticated listeners. Even retuning required a sarcastic joke to stop the awkward silence from bubbling over.

Although we were sat down for the best part of two hours; a numb bum was compensated by an auditory piece of Jones’ soul. Emerging onto stage with only his trusty guitar for company, the slow tempo of ‘Seabirds’ (the closing lullaby from West Kirby County Primary) washed over everyone. Entrancing the audience with the simplest strum, Bill played three more unaccompanied songs before bringing his four-piece band out onto stage.

The added texture and energy of the band was devoured insatiably. New song ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’ combined classic Jones lyricism with a Pixie-esque vibes, ended in the most intensely layered wall of sound which reverberated throughout the whole building.

It’s always hard playing an album tour prior to its actual release, but Jones managed to wet the audience appetite for the new whilst not forgetting “the hits” as ‘Satellites’ brought the night to a close.

Jenny Pudney

Header Image Credit- Ki Price