Wandering onto stage looking like Paul Giamatii's lost brother, M. Ward instantly dispelled my preconception that he would be a mannered or uneasy performer. He opened alone on the guitar with 'Paul's Song', that was as plaintive as it was capturvating. The small and intermate Bush Hall was a perfect setting.
Like all great music M. Ward instantly reminds you of many things, that somehow you cannot quite put your finger on. His guitar playing has something of John Fahey about it and his voice has echoes of Tom Waits and Billie Holiday. I could well be wrong though. But he most definitely is his own man.
After this stunning opening he was joined by his full band and demonstrated that he has many other strings to his bow. Where the opening was gentle and almost sedate the band ripped through a rousing 'Four Hours in Washington' and a storming version of the great 'Big Boat'. Although he played most of his excellent previous album 'Transistor Radio' and previewed songs from the forthcoming 'Post-War', Ward left the stage after an hour and a bit, which felt all too brief to me. And there was no 'Hi-Fi'.
Still great though.
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