I had an amazing time at the WIUO show last night! It was all I expected it to be and even more! And it was a pleasure to share it with emira and rachel.
Great video too, emira!
The evening started while we were in the queue outside of the venue. Andy was the first one to come out to take a photo of the long queue which formed not long before doors opened due to the sold out nature of the gig. Nigel soon followed to take photos too. Rachel and I feeling quite camera shy so we decided to turn away when they were taking the pictures but emira took a photo of Nigel taking a photo of us and struck some great poses so I hope they turn up somewhere.
We had a prime pick of seats once we entered the venue. We soon settled on second row centre seats so we had an amazing view of WIUO up close. They had cute merchandise on sale including their EPs, t-shirts and a tea towel. I decided to buy a tea towel before the show began and I'm glad I did because I heard they sold out during the interval.
They are so energetic and colourful on stage and their enthusiasm is infectious! It was a joy to hear songs from their EPs as well as new songs I haven't heard them cover before. The atmosphere was electric as Nigel introduced WIUO by talking into a mic offstage before joining them onstage. The show was split into two halves. There was a 1 hour set, then a 20 minute interval followed by another hour long set plus an encore of two more songs so we had a fun-packed full length show. In between songs they had funny banter and talked about the origins of the songs they were about to perform and how much particular songs mean to them. Age mentioned towards the beginning of the show that they came across some tough crowds in Edinburgh but we seemed already pretty warmed up. "Cry Me A River" seemed to get a really loud response from the crowd during the first half. Megan forgot the lyrics to Jolene which was actually pretty adorable and she soon got into the swing of it. Bek handed out a giant comb to a guy in the front row while singing Pretty Baby by Blondie ("You, you with the comb, you look OK in every way"
). Gemma described us as an "unruly" and then "polite" crowd. They also dimmed the lights on a couple of occasions for Sam to use a torchlight on ukes to show fancy uke strumming. Each member of WIUO definitely had their time to shine at various points in the show. The songs I remember from the first half are as follows: Afternoon Delight, I Love You Raylene, This Charming Man, It's A Heartache, Blue Smoke, Jolene, Cry Me A River, a Tahitian song (with Nigel using a Tahitian uke), Pretty Baby (led by Bek), 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover (led by Sam).
During the second half of the show, the crowd seemed well and truly pumped up (maybe some had a couple of drinks during that interval to build their energy levels up
). People were dancing in the aisles, WIUO were even more lively and the cheers were even louder. WIUO had a costume change which involved Andy wearing short shorts
. All of their outfits were as fabulous as ever throughout. I liked Bek's Kiwi t-shirt and underpants-over-the-leggings combo during the first half.
There were a couple of songs I weren't familiar with but they honestly all sounded amazing and I loved the range of props (including inflatible palm trees during the Hawaiian song) and instruments they used (including the instrument of dance!). Their live vocals blew me away too, they're all very talented people! The songs I can remember from the second set are: (Andy led a song about the "Boss' Daughter" if I remember correctly, maybe that's what it's called?), Price Tag, Africa, a Hawaiian Song (led by Gemma), Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, Push It, Maneater, Hey Ya. Encore- Common People, Hoki Mai.
The venue stated before the show that no photos or videos were allowed which was quite disappointing but it did allow me to just sit back and enjoy the first half of the show. Then I decided to get a bit braver during the second half since I noticed a few people were getting away with taking photos and videos. The lighting wasn't great for taking photos without a flash and I didn't want to distract them too much with a flash so I settled on mostly taking short HQ videos clips. I'll post a few pics soon. They reserved a seat for someone in the front row to record the whole show so I hope it's uploaded sometime soon so we get to see it. Nigel mentioned after the show that they recorded some of their Edinburgh Fringe shows so they may compile a few clips.
After the show I got to speak to Gemma, Megan, Nigel and Age. They are all so sweet and down to earth. I felt a little awkward going up to speak to them since they seemed to have many friends and family who came along to support them so naturally they wanted to catch up with them after the show but they were so kind about it and made time to at least say hello to us. Megan told emira that they are working on a new EP which definitely caught my attention but it's difficult to get them all together especially since Gemma lives in New York etc. Then Megan asked me if there was a song that they performed that I would like to see on the new EP. All of the performances of new songs were great but "Push It" was particularly energetic and funny so I told her that I enjoyed that performance. After I mentioned to Nigel that we met a few years ago while he was touring with FOTC in the UK, we got talking about FOTC and he said that he won't be joining Bret & Jemaine for the remainder of the US Oddball tour because their sets are only 45 mins long and they wanted their set to be more "stripped back" (those were the exact words Bret used in a recent interview too) which means no Nigel & his cello at the moment. He mentioned that there were plans for WIUO to return to the UK which of course got us excited that we could be seeing them again sooner than we think. We told him that there are many US fans who would love to see them too and he said that he thought that they would end up in the US before the UK. We were looking around for Age and then finally we saw him packing up on the stage so we managed to speak to him for a little while. He said that they came to the UK to hopefully form a few connections so that they could tour the UK in the next year or two which seems very likely (yay!) and he again reiterated what Nigel said about thinking that they would perform in the US before the UK since they have more friends there but it hasn't happened yet. Emira talked about the long term with their EP and UK tour and Age suggested that she could be their manager since she had it all planned out.
So all in all, I had a brilliant time at the gig, they were so gracious taking some time out to speak to us afterwards and I can't wait to see them again in the near future.