22-20s/Cathy Davey/Willy Mason – The Welly Club, Hull – Live Review

Darkness descended on stage; a shadow of a man begins to play, with many of the crowd unaware that it’s the first act, Willy Mason. The lights go up, and there is something undeniably stereotypical about the scene on display. A lonesome man, dressed down to the nineties, guitar as his only companion, playing the blues. He sounds impeccably timeless and reinforces the age-old adage of being all alone in a crowded room. This room was split with those who ‘listened’ felling humbled and endeared towards him, and those who ‘heard’ him producing the background noise of an authentic Midwest saloon…minus the spit buckets and bar brawls.

The recluse bitterness of Tom Waits, pop innocence of Bjork, and PJ Harvey-esque jadedness made for the sublime result of Cathy Davey. Lyrically she mixed nasty and nice in the classical sense. Musically she mixed pop and rock to the degree that could be liked by the world over. However, among the stand out tracks of “come over” and “cold man’s nightmare”, the set upsettingly lacked a special something, songs blending into one another, and washing away like the memory of those blurry dreams you can’t for the life of you remember.

For the black clad 22-20s, it’s been an overwhelming 12 months. Critically acclaimed after the brash, ballsy and bastardised live recording of the 05/03 EP, they entered to a crowd demanding to be blown away. Sure enough, with their textbook blues injected rock and roll, no one was left disappointed. Undeniably one of the most talent bands around and genuine scholars of their trade, they played off each other like a band that have been the voice of public inspiration for generations, however they have this all to look forward to.

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