Tilly And The Wall - Scala London
Omaha's Tilly And The Wall played their biggest UK headline date so far at The Scala venue in London as part of a short Nationwide tour. The Nebraska five piece were in town promoting their second album "Bottoms of barrels" and latest single "The freest man".
Tilly have a unique selling point as their line up is drummerless.The group rely on band mate Jamie to provide the backbeat to their songs which she does by tap dancing on a wooden platform! Jamie performs the more intricate rhythms but is helped out by fellow band members Kianna and Neely as they join in with the more basic steps.Both girls sing vocals for the band and also take turns playing bass.Singer /guitarist Derek and keyboard player / Ipod button pusher Nick make up the male side of the band.
Tilly are also joined on this UK jaunt by additional guitarist Mason who has taken time off from his day job playing for Coyote Bones to help flesh out some of the bands guitar parts, his second tour of duty with the Tilly's .
The bands set was pulled from tracks from their latest album alongside earlier offerings from debut "Wild like children", starting off with "Rainbows in the dark" , "Fell down the stairs" and "Black and blue". After a trio of uptempo and foot stomping songs Jamie was rewarded a short reprise as Derek took the lead for the much slower "Love song".
One of the evening's highlights was the apperance of a new Tilly track in the set.Listed on the set list as "Too excited" the track combines a few 40's style dance moves with 60's Garage Punk and is a noisy three minute buzz of energy that should be recorded now! A bit of audience participation was required for "Sing songs along" as the band asked the crowd to join in with the closing "Let Us Be Free!" refrain at the end of the number with the majority of the capacity crowd joining in.The crowd were still very vocal for the following song with a big cheer going up for Jamie's tap solo during "Reckless", the single that brought Tilly to the attention of a lot of tonight's audience.
Tilly shows tend to feature two styles of performance which showed in the pair of songs that followed.
Current single "The freest man" lets the band relax more.With no intricate tap involved they were free to wander the stage "Bustin' moves", drinking beer and having fun."Bad education" was a far more regimented affair with synchronized dance moves the order of the day. The band ended their set with "The ice storm, big gust and you", leaving the stage to rapturous applause, returning for an eagerly awaited encore. Tilly always ask the audience what they want to hear for an encore which results in them getting bombarded with requests.They tend to pick from a handful of songs and this time round the first encore was "Lost girls", a wonderful slower song with a big build towards the end.
Their last song for the night was a choice of two numbers. Early Tilly track "Pictures of houses" almost made the grade but no Tilly show is ever complete without the frequently magical, rabble rousing call to arms that is "Night's of the living dead".The band were joined onstage by support acts The Little Ones and Kate Nash and I even spotted the lovely Emmy The Great who supported Tilly previously singing along onstage. The band were certainly overjoyed to be playing the sold out show.As I managed to catch the band a few times when they came to the UK a year ago it's been nice to see them play larger and larger venues as the year progressed.I'm a big fan of the Tilly's rowdier numbers so "Bad education and "Nights of the living dead" were highlights for me.However I've always got a place in my heart for "Lost girls" so I'm always happy when it's played.
The band must be one of the hardest working in the world right now as they seem to travel between the States and Europe every other month. Tilly have US shows in the next few weeks,including a couple of performances at Austin's SXSW.They return to Europe in April, supporting the wonderful CSS (Cansei De Ser Sexy) and have also promised appearances at several UK Festivals.
"Bottoms of barrels", "Wild like children" and current single "The freest man" are all available on Moshi Moshi records.
Visit Tilly's My Space page for a list of their forthcoming live shows.
Fans of the band may also be interested in Derek's side project .Flowers Forever. He certainly has a prolific output, mentioning on the site "I started to try and do a piece of visual art, a video, or write and record a song/ idea/ musical sketch everyday". There may be no foot stomping required but he certainly has the songs on tap!