Willis Earl Beal Ironwood Stage & Grill, Calgary AB June 21
Published Jun 22, 2012There's no voice like Willis Earl Beal's. It's a growling, luscious, resonant sound that contorts itself wherever the tape loop takes it, from gospel to R&B to spoken word to pop to folk, there was little territory left uncharted by the end of Beal's exhaustingly dynamic, riveting, revelatory set. And frankly, there's no body like Beal's either. He owned every inch of the stage on Sled Island's second night, prowling and posing and undulating with the kind of raw magnetism Elvis only hinted at. He has the presence of an evangelist and we were his rapt disciples throughout the entire set, which covered most of his recent debut, Acousmatic Sorcery. After closing out the night with a crowd-pleasing, clap-stamp-and-sing-along, he implored everyone to understand he is there to preach "the self," encouraging everyone else to just do it: "I don't know shit about music. You can make music. That's what this is about." Amen.