Will Varley review: A singer who delivers honest, thoughtful and sometimes humerous music with absolute perfection

Will Varley, with support from I Said Goodbye and Ailbhe Reddy, delivered a raw and honest performance to a sizeable crowd last night at Epic Studios in Norwich.

The evening of music begun with a performance by local band I Said Goodbye who had the tough task of warming up the minimal crowd ahead of the other two acts.

With smaller shows like this, it’s never an easy feat as many of the audience members don’t usually until closer to the time of the headline performance.

I Said Goodbye had technical issues from the start with a few sound level issues and a problem connecting the acoustic guitar to the speakers. As a result the lead singer, who handled this mishap expertly, brought his guitar off the stage and stood right in front of the audience to enable him to be heard above his fellow band member and electric guitarist.

Being able to hear them both properly made for a much more positive experience and they both harmonised well together proving that they were in fact a well rehearsed group.

A punk band felt a little of an odd choice to open for folk singer Will Varley, and at times it felt that there was something missing from the performance - which was later addressed when they announced that they were performing without the aid of their bassist and drummer.

It was a decent opening set that was handled with professionalism, despite the complications, from a band that have fantastic stage presence and a knack at making the audience laugh in between songs.

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Second to take to the stage was solo singer-songwriter Ailbhe Reddy who had come all the way from Dublin, Ireland to perform.

Stepping up to the mic with just her guitar, I was anxious to see how she would fair, following on from an act with a very different sound and energy.

From the moment she begun her set it was evident how exceptionally talented she is, picking her way through chord progressions and singing her original songs with a voice that is completely effortless.

Her lyrics were sophisticated and packed full of emotion delivered in such a way that it was easy to forget that you were in a room full of other people.

Ailbhe Reddy has the ability to appear vulnerable up on stage in the way she quietly introduces her songs but then blows you away with meaningful lyrics and a voice that you could listen to all evening.

Despite varying in style from I Said Goodbye, she did a great job of moving the evening forward in preparation for the man that we were all waiting for.

As it approached 9.15pm, Will Varley appeared on the stage with his guitar in hand and a stool specifically for his can of Guinness. He was met by an applause before he had even spoken to the audience, an early testament to the talent that we were about to witness first hand.

It was evident from the off that Will Varley is born for the stage - showing no sign of nerves as he confidently spoke to the crowd and began his set.

Whether it had been intended or not, it felt as if we were taken on a journey throughout the evening, with songs that covered a variety of topics from emotional stories that he’d been told whilst travelling to humorous songs about scam emails.

Will has a knack of delivering real and honest material in such a way that you don’t always notice how impactful some of the lyrics are until you really stop and think it.

He’s a captivating performer, sucking you into his lyrics both through their brutal honesty and through the charm and charisma in which he presents them.

His vocals are undeniably top class proved by how effortlessly he is able to switch between a quiet and delicate delivery to belting out high and powerful notes.

It was a fantastic evening of music from a singer who delivers honest, thoughtful and sometimes humorous music with absolute perfection.