When our colleague Felicia Daniels came back from her recent Live In The Vineyard weekend in Napa, she couldn’t stop singing the praises of Gin Wigmore. Since we trust her musical taste implicitly, we decided to rustle up a ticket to Wigmore’s sold-out show at New York City’s Mercury Lounge last night, which featured the 26-year-old New Zealander playing a handful of tracks off her newly released LP, Gravel & Wine.
Wigmore’s sound can best be described thusly: Imagine Amy Winehouse backed not by a group of Motown-influenced musicians, but instead by the Stray Cats. Her sound fuses the same sort of quirky, boozy vocal stylings that made Winehouse an international superstar with an energetic band that clearly hasn’t stopped listening to Morrissey’s fuzzed out, rockabilly Your Arsenal for twenty years. In a good way, of course!
It’s rare to see a new act emerge on the scene these days with what seems to be a fully formulated vision for what and who they want to be as an artist —the last one we can think of is Lana Del Rey— but Wigmore certainly possesses that. No doubt that’s due in large part to the fact that she’s been a star in her native New Zealand for well over five years now, and she put on a confident and brassy show last night. Her songs feel tailor-made to fit nicely into commercials and movie trailers —in particular, the swampy organs and sexily nightmarish lyrics of “Kill Of The Night” feel like they should replace Jace Everett’s “Bad Things” as the theme song to HBO’s True Blood— and had the crowd hooting and hollering their approval throughout her 7 song set.
There were also songs about dickheads (“Man Like That”) and drinking yourself to death (“Devil In Me”), but, most impressively, her soaring ballad “If Only” (listen above) sounds like a long lost treasure from the 1950s that just got unearthed by a crate-digging wunderkind. Keeping with the movie and TV theme song theme, this listener felt like it would’ve made an excellent addition to Back To The Future’s Enchantment Under The Sea Ball playlist. More than anything else, though, it demonstrates that Wigmore’s got the kind of vocal and stylistic range that is going to make an immediate connection people of all ages as soon as they hear are introduced to her music.
SETLIST: “Dirty Love” / “Devil In Me” / “Don’t Stop” / “If Only” / “Kill Of The Night” / “Man Like That” / “Black Sheep”
[Photo: Jen Marigliano/VH1]