The solo artist performed a rare UK show exactly four years after his last one, alongside wife Olivia Willson-Piper (violin, backing vocals), with material from his solo work as well as his former band, The Church. He began on two Church songs, ‘Tristesse’ and ‘She’ll Come Back For You Tomorrow’, playing alternately on three 12-string guitars alongside Olivia’s violin trills in the former, and using brisk strokes in the latter with dark, straw-like moods created by the strings.

Marty then played from his last two solo albums, 2008’s ‘Nightjar’, with the fluttery ‘Feed Your Mind’, and ‘I Don’t Think So’ from ‘Hanging Out In Heaven’; a stripped back song that he originally wrote and recorded to cassette. After relating the story of how he joined The Church when moving to Australia in 1980, working with their producer Bob Clearmountain and playing the band’s fifth single, ‘Almost With You’, he spoke about his other collaborations including Noctorum with Dare Mason, performing poignant anti-war song ‘Hymn’ from their 2004 debut album, ‘Sparks Lane’, featuring woody violin riffs.

The second set contained a spectacular performance of ‘Grind’ from The Church’s 1990 studio album, ‘Gold Afternoon Fix’, with interacting guitar and fretless; the violin cascading and reaching bone chilling double timbre with added reverb. After including material from his other projects, MOAT and The Saints (with Chris Bailey), Marty finished the set on ‘Under The Milky Way’, overtaken by Olivia’s ghostly pitches and waltzes, and Noctorum track, ‘Hopes And Fears’.

The pair finished the show on an encore of ‘Sparks’ from The Church’s 1988 chart peaking album ‘Starfish’, with Marty’s rapid guitar strokes.

17/03/23: Marty Willson-Piper @ The Slaughtered Lamb, London.

Photos © Anna Marchesani/Nocturna photography.

© Ayisha Khan.