When Mari Wilson and the Wilsations managed to take a 12-piece band all across England in the early 80s at the height of a recession, some would have said that it was madness. But that desire for a bold statement in the face of adversity was a gift that money couldn’t buy. Now, the world is turning into a much darker and colder place. Doom hangs over humanity’s head like a Sword of Damocles as madmen have their deathgrip on the reins of power… so I guess there’s no better time to revisit the audacity of Mari Wilson, fronting a large contingent of New Wilsations ready to make a big noise.
We just got the word that Mari has a fall tour lined up to show off her new band after debuting them last Summer at Wilton’s Music Hall, a live venue with a history dating back to the late 17th century. Having seen the original Wilsations perform live on the BBC’s “Sight + Sound” on videotape, I can say that once you give this singer a large band, prepare to step back and be wowed. She’s assembled a band with guitar/bass/drums/keys, two backing vocalists, and a brass section so absolutely no corners were cut. Her recent “Pop Deluxe” album will certainly get an airing, along with her catalog of immaculately backdated hits and probably a few of her favorites from Dusty Springfield’s catalog as well.
Mari Wilson + The New Wilsations | UK Fall 2019 Tour
- Oct. 27 | New Wolsey Theatre | Ipswich, England
- Oct. 31 | The Concorde Club | Southampton, England
- Nov. 1 | The Electric Theatre | Guildford, England
- Nov. 9 | Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel | Denbighshire, Wales
The poster above cites a November 9th gig at Bodelwyddan Castle, in Rhyl, Wales, but the actual show is at the Bodelwyddan Castle Hotel, not the castle itself. Which is fortunate, because the local authorities have withdrawn funding support, and the castle and grounds are no longer open to the public. Gulp! What did I say earlier about dark times? We’d better enjoy this music while we can! As usual, I have to watch it all take place from thousands of miles away, but if any UK commenters can swing a gig, please report back with your findings!
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So wish I could attend a Mari show; I’ve loved her music since ’82. And I’ll be arriving in London on November 14th…so close but no cigar. Sigh.
Taffy – Ouch! That’s got to hurt. I’m very impressed that Ms. Wilson has made the considerable effort to build up a new large band. It’s a shame that you are just missing her dates by a fortnight. While she can certainly carry an intimate gig with minimal accompaniment of guitarist or keys, the large band is really part of her artistic DNA.
I got to enjoy an all-too-brief Mari Wilson show as part of the B.E.F. gig I attended nearly three (!) years ago now (detailed on this very blog, of course), where she had support from Martyn and Berenice as well as their backup singers, and that was stellar enough! Very pleased to hear she’ll have a bigger band this time, but sorry I’m not going to get to see it!
chasinvictoria – You were a very fortunate guy to have seen that B.E.F. show! I can imagine that experience lighting the fire for Ms. Wilson to assemble a full band. You are singular among my friends for having seen Mari Wilson perform.
If not for that whole ocean thing, this is one I would love to see.
Brian – You and me both, pally. As for the ocean thing, you may be in luck. Ms. Wilson says that she is possibly doing a show in The States later on, but that will be one of he intimate shows as bringing the band over is difficult and costly. Probably in L.A. like the last one she did some years back. Watch this space.