Ryley Walker, the singer and songwriter from Rockford, Illinois visited us in Brighton and Hove as part of his 2018 international tour, promoting his latest recording. A homage to The Lillywhite Sessions (a scrapped album by the Dave Mathews Band), this album uses the same name. Walker manages to put his own dynamic and modern twist on the record that inspired it, making it a very interesting and entertaining listen. Fans had a lot of these new track to look forward to on the night of the show at the marvellous Old Market in Hove.
The venue was already brimming with fans prior to the first act. Before Ryley Walker, we were treated to an incredibly tranquil set from musician Andrew Tuttle, who had travelled all the way from Brisbane, Australia to captivate the crowd with his soothing and ambient melodies using his range of string-based instruments with his main weapon-of-choice being his trusty banjo. Behind him played footage taken from some of his music videos, including ‘Boarding Zone’ and ‘A Winding River’ and consisted of landscapes and cityscapes, adding an additional layer of ambience to the set. It was entirely instrumental and his masterful playing and relaxing melodies filled the crowd with a very peaceful energy.
After a short interval, it was finally time for Ryley Walker to take the stage to be greeted by countless cheers from fans. His fellow musicians that shared the stage with him included another guitarist, a bassist and not one, but two drummers!
To me, Walker’s vocal style, along with the nature of the music, made me almost feel as if I was listening to Pearl Jam live. There was an excellent blend of dynamic, complex riffs and more laid back melodies in each and every track.
It was incredibly interesting seeing how Ryley Walker and all of the other musicians played, with Walker even successfully executing some Tom Morello–style guitar scratching at one point in the set. However, the drummers especially made it incredibly hard for me to take my eyes off them, using a wide arsenal of different percussion instruments as well as many clever techniques. You could tell that the atmosphere the music created was incredibly important to each and every musician playing on that stage.
Ryley Walker did a fantastic job of pouring his heart and soul into making his music create a vast amount of atmosphere while also being incredibly entertaining and charismatic on stage, providing the crowd with many laughs in-between songs. Yet, the key word for the whole evening really was “atmosphere” as this live show was choc-full of it from start to finish.