Karl Walsh and the Happy Future @ The Ritz
The eponymous Karl Walsh is a Manchester musician and author with a diverse musical career. Once signed to Factory Records by Tony Wilson with the band To Hell With Burgundy, he went on to form The Visitors with Mike Crook and Wayne Shotton. Today, two thirds of The Visitors, Karl and Wayne, with the addition of Phil McIntyre on bass make up the three-piece that is Karl Walsh and The Happy Future.
The simplicity of the set up is the first thing apparent here. Drums, acoustic guitar, harmonica and bass are all that is present on the stage. Like Martha and the Vandellas said, there is “nowhere to run, nowhere to hide baby.” So tonight is not about being heavy, incredible volume or neck-twattery, but about songs. And, oh do they have songs.
In their allotted half-hour set, those present are treated to a set of perfect pop-folk hymns tinged with a sadness and experience that evoke such greats as Leonard Cohen and Tim Buckley but displays a distinctive style all their own.
Song Number 10 uses exotic, flamenco stop-start mechanics with great story telling lyrics that engross the listener, Monster addresses domestic violence and set closer Dance to the Drum evokes the 60’s and the jangly pop stylings of The Monkees: Not Your Stepping Stone.
It’s an uplifting, gimmick free performance and their combined musical experience shines throughout. The future’s bright, the future’s happy!
Words: Paul Cooke