There are few musicians with an ability to enthral the room long before they even enter it. The atmosphere in The Workman’s Club prior to Weyes Blood’s arrival to the stage was one of heightened anticipation. An affection for the musician and affinity to her music was evident throughout the audience that filled the cosy Dublin venue. When Natalie Mering, the lady behind the Weyes Blood moniker, emerged it was both amusing and enriching to watch the expressions on the faces in the crowd. Before she even sang a note the audience were besotted. One chap even propositioning her for a pint of Guinness, all in good spirit. Blood’s music is often regarded as a sort of apocalyptic-romantic; contemporary Enya, a description used by her touring mate and support act on the night, Jack Ladder. This meant that this was always going to be a special affair, something different and refreshing. And it was.
Weyes Blood took her place behind the keyboards and begins her set promptly with ‘Diary’, the atmospheric opener to her 2016 album, Front Row Seat To Earth. The live experience of Weyes Blood ascended with her most compositionally accomplished single to date, ‘Used To Be’. The early inclusion of this particular song to the set – which is densely populated with Blood’s most recent album – was brave. It bursts with energy and has the most tonal variety – vocally and in the instrumentation – one would have expected that this would have been saved for the middle section. The deft of the opening section of the gig warranted the rapturous applause it received, reciprocated from the stage with ‘Can’t Go Home’.
Mering settled into the surroundings with ease, the crowd clearly full of admiration and so began the banter between songs. Her personality on the night was equally as inviting and warm as her music. The first glimmer of her humour came with the introduction of a heartfelt break-up song, “This next song was called ‘Seven Words’, now it’s more like ‘Seventeen Words’, a lot has happened since I originally wrote it!” In theory, a Weyes Blood show should be a sombre affair as the melodies are extremely emotive and the majority of her lyrics are informed by heartbreak and what happens after; moving on. In the past, she has described her songs as being about, “relationships that go awry.” The reality, however, was to the contrary. The gig from the moment it began right until the end was uplifting and that jovial spirit continued as a generous audience member gallantly bestowed a yellow guitar plec upon her polite request before charging into an energetic rendition of ‘Hang On’. There was a constant feeling of camaraderie between the artist and audience.
The live interpretations of the songs were exceptional, especially as this was the last night of the tour. Her energy and enthusiasm performing was palpable, you couldn’t but feel elated singing along. The toll of touring had not affected the strength in Blood’s voice, she performed each song with such incredible ease, the range of her vocal not compromised once. The show entered its final section with a slower pace of songs with ‘Away and Above’, ‘Generation Why’, before Mering asked the audience if they wanted “to get freaky.” Naturally, everyone was on board. How do you get freaky at a Weyes Blood, I hear you ask? Well, she performs ‘Do You Need My Love?’ and the crowd dance, obviously.
Encores tend to be where the musical gold is stashed. It allows a track from the archives to erupt within the confines of the venue. On this particular occasion, Weyes Blood decided to go with two covers; Mike Oldfield’s ‘Moonlight Shadow’ and ‘Vitamin C’ by Can. These songs worked really well as an ending to Blood’s set. The familiarity of these classics brought everyone together, like being at a party in a friend’s house.
Weyes Blood photographed for State by Killian Broderick.