Words by Wes Foster
Meilyr Jones’ music redefines pop music. It has an integrity and soul that cannot be matched by many, if any. Rarely does pop show such a sensitivity, such a vulnerability and such a self awareness – it does not come easily, as he says in ‘How to Recognise a Work of Art’, with the line ‘you say that I am untouchable, that I hardly try’ and you can tell, to write like he does doesn’t just take ability but also an incredible amount of demand from the self and his own high standards ensures this very special quality to it.
Live, he holds a crowd like not many others can (especially for a Saturday night gig) – this is the second time that I’ve been lucky enough to see him in the flesh, and again for most of the set there was silence in a crowd completely inundated to his every move, a mixture of charm and vulnerability that only he seems to hold despite being upon a stage. And despite this, there doesn’t seem to be a division between him and the audience – friendly banter is had between both parties and it feels like something special, something unique. Testament to this is the way that the interaction is constantly spur of the moment, Meilyr himself seems switched on, and delighted to be there, from the start of the gig right up to manning the merch table solo, admirably taking as much time as any fan wants to have a conversation with him.
Grey shirt tucked in tightly, he stands out on the stage despite dressing fairly non-outlandishly – the band are incredible, with instrument swapping galore (the drummer at one point was playing his kit whilst also playing a trumpet; unfortunately, I didn’t quite catch his name) and a balance between professionalism and enjoyment that is rarely seen. Each member seems like Meilyr, giving everything for their art, and enjoying it at the same time. As with any Meilyr Jones’ gig there is very little to dislike, but the absolute highlight is the near acoustic ending of the set with ‘Be Soft’, sans-microphone without a sound in the room, ensuring an incredible level of vulnerability that others don’t seem to manage – adding to an all encompassing sensitivity and tenderness that every track has.
Meilyr Jones played at The Ruby Lounge on Saturday 4th March, 2017.