Ainslie Wills - Newtown Social Club, Sydney

Written by Luke Bodley

Ainslie Wills - Newtown Social Club, Sydney

Deary, deary me. A holy cherub, clipped wings, a heaven-song. A brook of light pours from her lips. She rallies the air with her siren; every millimetre of space vibrates in delightful harmony. I float with swimming-ease, feel my hair brush the ceiling. She widens her mouth, the walls buckle and turn to pearl. All of this, all of this and more in a ‘spot of time’.

F**k Ainslie Wills is transcendent live.

I shuffle up Newtown Social Club’s staircase. The outer borders of the crowd begin to expand as I pull Hendricks through my straw. Sydney songstress, Eleanor Dunlop lands behind the stage-piano. Her saccharine voice waltzes with her hands. She has a complex emotionality that is well suited to her jazzy, technical-prowess on the keys. Disguise is a particularly marvellous example of songcraft.

Machine Age follows her and lends his industrialised folk – a meeting of syncopated metal-beats and deft guitar work – to the climbing musical ethos. Adrian is a veritable one-man band. He fiddles with his guitar and gadgets, the organic and the programmed, to produce some lovely music. Chivalry is a standout with an unassuming folk-flecked beginning that suddenly flips into an electro-analog hybrid rich with voice.

Ainslie Wills appears, in this clumsy, unrefined way. It must be part of her schtick – she waddles on stage a human and then bursts divine with a single coo. On Stop Pulling The String, her silver-voice echoes, ‘I’m gonna shout at the stop of my lungs’. And then she wanders like a Wordsworthian Romantic into Hawaii.

The tension-and-then-release structure of the music is masterfully orchestrated, and almost systolic. The muted-bass line, syncopated guitar riffage and angelic singing create these spacious listening-moments. On Constellations Wills’ raw voice starts in a deep, low-register growl and then climbs into a crystalline falsetto. The result is an indescribably numinous experience.

After flittering through her catalogue, Wills returned to the stage to perform a stripped-down version of Sorry My Love. Without the backing of the band, her naked-voice glided. She reached near apotheosis as she lilted, ‘Can you give me your emotions?’

Yes Ainslie. Take all my emotions.


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