Anaïs Vila, Gig Review. Leaf, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Liverpool will always throw open its arms to the adventurous, to the talented and the seekers of more enlightened thought, it is the nature of the city to do so, it is in entwined in the D.N.A. of its people to share it, to talk about it and not keep it a secret. To travel across Europe, perhaps in the most awkward of times to hit the continent in an era of peace, to play in the home of British popular music is to be saluted. It is the side effect of the vote to leave Europe that people forget that art cannot exist without an audience, to have the conversation and to learn is a prerequisite of being human, the inquisitiveness to learn something new from another culture an unalienable right to the open minded.

Art will always have a home in Liverpool, and it is art that flourishes when you hear the voice of Anaïs Vila taking hold of a venue such as Leaf. The party spirit outside the building may have been loud and in some cases crass, the sense of a Friday overture after a week of seamless Monday Blues a major factor in anybody’s reasoning when it comes to shedding the inhabitations, and yet inside Leaf, the music was intense, captivating enough to make the noise of any party soon fade into the distance.

Opening for Roxanne de Bastion on the night of her album launch was always going to be a tough ask for anyone, yet for Ms. Vila it was greeted with a Catalan smile, a sense of demure and giving and one that never suffered any pre-match nerves.

Guided perhaps the sense of occasion but in no way overawed by it, Ms. Vila took the stage at Leaf and with many of the lovers of the Liverpool Acoustic in attendance, offered a huge and unbridled perspective of music from the southern side of Europe, the sense of glittering sea that so many of us visit but never really pay attention to outside of bathing beside, the temptation of the dish never tried or the avenue of local shops not paid enough respect; all came into view as Ms. Vila produced a set of real intrigue and cool.

With songs such as Em Pardo, The Calm, the sensational Come Back and Dance. Temptant La Sort and I Don’t Need You all playing their part in making sure that was a true delight of an evening, Anaïs Vila stole the hearts of the crowd in attendance and surely guaranteed that she would be in much demand in Liverpool again.

A great set, a collection of remarkable songs that led to something different, the sense of ever growing change and learning on offer, if only we would open our minds and ears a little more.

Ian D. Hall