It’s hard to walk into a church when you aren’t religious and feel wholly at ease. It’s even harder to sit down in a wooden chair, surrounded by flickering candles and not wonder what the hell you’re doing there.

It is, however, easy to forget all of that when you’re listening to the vocal powerhouse that is Cory Wells. The first impression he gives is that he’s humble. He introduces himself somewhat nervously, thanks everyone for coming early to see him, quickly following it up with a self deprecating joke that seems to serve more for his own benefit than the crowds.

And then he sings.

A man whose music takes influence from multiple genre’s, his music is layered, emotive and packs a punch. Each lyric and vocalisation is careful and precise, his hands steady on his guitar; this is a man who is more comfortable speaking through his songs. In spite of the intimacy of the venue – an old church with a maximum capacity of 120 – Wells seems to gain more confidence, his presence filling up the space until you forget where you are.

Between songs he seems to go back into himself a little, his voice softer, his jokes continuously self deprecating. It’s that this point that the crowd shifts somewhat. Instead of thinking of him as shy or sheepish, the realisation that he’s actually just focused and grateful endears the crowd to him more. That, or the raw emotion in his voice as he sings the lyrics. It’s hard not to fall in love with music that good, especially when it becomes a conduit for vulnerability. And Wells is undeniably laying himself bare in his songs. ‘Fall Apart‘, a song written by Wells and Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional) with vocals by Lizzy Farall  is a song about loss and how utterly destroying it can be. In the quiet and confines of the space the song soars – poetic considering the setting.

The fourth song in the set is ‘Wildfire‘, prefaced by the admission that the song is about the only person he’s ever hated. From his debut album ‘The Way We Are‘ (released Friday November 15th, available here ) he’s said of the song, This topic a first for me to write about. I didn’t know that I’d ever known true hatred for someone until the events of this song. It feels amazing to let out so much anger in a healthy way. It feels like letting go.”  And it translates into that, with the passion being evident even on stage. It’s powerful, his vocals pushing through the notes with ease, and in the red lit space there’s a vivid intensity.

Throughout the show you can’t help but notice how non specific Wells is in terms of genre. With suggestions of folk, definite metal influence present – he screams an expletive that he later jokes about, the church setting making it seem taboo – and of course, influence from Dashboard Confessional , he becomes more of a mystery.

A forceful, controlled and masterful musician with a less intense presence in between songs, Cory Wells live at St Pancras Old Church was a brilliant example of how support acts are often just as engaging to watch as the main. The album might have been four years in the making but the songs were definitely worth the wait.

 

Cory Wells goes on tour in 2020 with his debut album, dates below: 

EU/UK TOUR 2020
Special Guests: LIZZY FARRALL
17.01.20 Germany Cologne @ MTC Bar
19.01.20 Germany Leipzig @ Naumanns
20.01.20 Germany Hamburg @ Hafenklang
21.01.20 Germany Berlin @ Auster Club
22.01.20 Germany Frankfurt @ Ponyhof
23.01.20 Belgium Antwerp @ Bouckenborgh
24.01.20 UK London @ St Pancras Old Church
25.01.20 UK Birmingham @ The Victoria

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