Willie J. Healey @ Yes (photo: Georgina Hull)


I’ve comprised a theory that Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice and Nick Valensi of The Strokes secretly had four children. They’re stood right in front of me, being blinded by the projector showing images of a trippy nature; disturbing to some viewers but hypnotising to most. They might’ve thrown in some of Ross Millard’s (The Futureheads) genes in the mix too, who knows? It’s just a theory, but Brighton’s post-punk four-piece Egyptian Blue are either an offspring of these musicians or were made in a cauldron by them – the similarities in the guitar/drum heavy shoutiness are indistinguishable. And if they were the offspring, I think it’s safe to say that they’re forever stuck in the angsty stage, the lead singer even starts going at his guitar with a screwdriver for Christ’s sake! It doesn’t get angrier than this, kids. I’m certainly not complaining, though.

Willie J. Healey’s small frame clothed in about 6 layers of shirts humbly makes his way to the stage and sets up, innocently clutching onto a flower and two setlists with doodle embellishments written on scraps of cardboard. But is he anything close to innocent? Nope! Willie J. Healey is the very embodiment of one word that perfectly describes him; the way that he holds himself, his incomparable sex appeal, can only be shown in one way. Willie J Healey is cool. Really cool. The type of cool where neither he, nor a lot of other people, really know it yet – which of course, makes him even cooler.

He starts afresh with an unreleased new track, ‘Songs for Jonna’; yet again Healey shows his varied range of skills, going from acoustic melodies to shouty indie music to having elements of smooth jazz, which smoothly transitions to chirpy tune ‘People And Their Dogs’ from Healey’s first album, People And Their Dogs.

Next up is slow burner, ‘Pipedreams’, starting up in an eerie fashion, but completely transforms into head-bopping, humming-along-softly mania resembling a range of noughties indie such as Franz Ferdinand and Razorlight.

We are then enthralled by another new track, titled ‘True Stereo’, followed up by the old yet absolutely gold, ear grating, head space creating track, ‘My Room’, reeking of grungy, angsty ambience. ‘My Room’ entices feelings of heaviness – overbearing weight and depth comes along with it, zoning you out while subconsciously drowning you and removing your ability to hear. Almost sensing this, Willie gives us all a bit of breathing time, transitioning into everybody’s favourite evening wind-down song, ‘Somewhere In Between’, thus proving itself to be one of the most calming, yet sensual tracks I have had the pleasure of hearing – that saxophone solo just has a way of working its way through you, similar to the warmth in your cheeks you get while you’re intoxicated. Except you’re drunk on the pure lust that radiates from the stage.

Another thing that still amazes me is how this man can go from singing you to sleep to screaming his absolute heart and soul out, shouting “I think I love her!” repeatedly, during passionate heartbreak track ‘Love Her’, which, if I’m being perfectly honest, completely captures just how intense that pain is that comes from heartbreak. We’ve all been there at some point, Willie J Healey somehow perfectly describes it through the medium of indie music.

Willie J. Healey @ Yes (photo: Georgina Hull)

Throughout his set, Healey plays a mixture of both new songs to be released, recent songs from EP 666 Kill and of course, gems from the doggo album, such as ‘Big Nothing’, ‘Guitar Music’, and ‘Subterraneans’. ‘Subterraneans’ in particular has the supernatural ability to make you dance; sure, it’s a slow burner, but by the end of the song, I’m pretty sure everyone in this dark basement is dancing, showing just how much of a colourful impact Willie J. Healey can have among the gloom that surrounds us all.

‘Lazy Shade of Pink’ will always have a special spot in my heart. Dark lyrics, uplifting music, what can I say? It just completely hits the spot. Plus not to mention how fucking catchy it is. After a year and half since discovering the musical stylings of Willie J Healey, ‘Lazy Shade of Pink’ is one of those rare songs that you can just never get bored of, no matter if you repeat it to death. You can certainly try and make new playlists and mix tapes without it, but you always end up crawling right back to it. Just like how I, and I think I can speak for everyone else in this room, will be crawling right back to see him perform again.

Willie J. Healey not only has the ability to relax listeners, but tracks such as ‘Greys’ (which he finishes his set with) will always offer the same kick of energy similar to a shot of espresso. He is the epitome of interesting to say the least, and everyone is adoring the atmosphere he is creating.

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