LIVE: Willy Mason – Lola, New York

The gig started with the words ‘we’re going to be trying some new stuff out’. 35 minutes later the show was over and I was introduced to a whole new Willy Mason, cut loose from the old material he has obviously been experimenting with some new sounds.

For the unfamiliar, Mason was given the moniker of the modern day Dylan on his debut (which I talked at length about in Episode 20 of the Picky Bastards Podcast. 

This new batch of songs seemed to have more of a link to another American legend. Springsteen. At least that’s where we were for the first half of the show. We then swung from cheesier blues rock, to full blown punk. It was an interesting set. 

Maybe it’s not surprising. There seemed to be some extra bite bubbling underneath his last album, and now that seven years have passed it seems to have come to the surface. 

On stage his band present more as 4 piece, than a Willy Mason project. It seems he has some people around him that will challenge and push the music collectively, seeking this new direction. Even his appearance has changed. He has ditched his usual all-black uniform, and comes out looking younger and happier. 

One thing hasn’t changed though; the sharp wit and lyrical dexterity that truly made him a special talent remain. There is still a cynicism in the music, but the formerly forlorn tone now feels angry. 

After turning up with the hope of listening to some of my favourite songs, I was pleasantly surprised  The 50 or so others at Lola also seemed to warm to this revived and refreshed version of Mason. I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping for a new album on the horizon. 

Words by Matt Paul


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