Willis Earl Beal – live at the TROF, Manchester review

Posted on 3 March 2012
By Matt Barden
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Willis Earl Beal, the Chicago singer, stopped off at the TROF Cafe, Manchester, to play to a sell out crowd.

Performing without a band, the genre jumping singer kicked off proceedings with an acapella version of Wavering Lines, asking the upstairs audience to help out with the beat by hand-clapping and foot stomping.

Willis then jumped into songs from his upcoming LP, Acoumastic Sorcery, singing over very basic instrumental backing tracks.

The tracks were recorded between 2007 and 2009 and find the artist trying on all kinds of genres, from the Gospel-esque Take Me Away, to rapper, noise artist and acoustic troubadour in the space of one 40 miute set.

For Evening Kiss the Illinois native broke out the guitar to accompany him.

He finished off the set by going back to acapella, aftter cries from the crowd for Same Old Tears.

More foot stomping ensued until the Chicago man broke off, caught up in the moment and forgetting the words.

He apologised, saying he hadn’t performed the song ‘since the video’ and was given a rapturous applause for a very raw, but promising set.