With the new year celebrations well and truly behind us, we now face (at the time of writing) the never ending month that is January. Thankfully, Liv Warfield had our backs and dropped her new Live album ‘Live at Cafe Wha?’. Anyone who has had the chance to see Liv live will understand the total power she has on stage as a performer, so as a long time fan of her work I was excited to see how this would translate without the passionate explosive visual of her performance. As always Liv delivered. Here are some of my thoughts upon first listen, I invite you to press play and join me on this emotive journey through Liv Warfield’s world.
1. More Things - This track starts with an instrumental, the perfect anticipation builder with guitars and a slow building beat that then drops into an airy positive track, it then builds again to an anthemic track. At times I was reminded of ‘Rocks Off’ by Primal Scream, a very good thing.
2. Crash - This instantly gave me a ‘Prince The Rainbow Children’ vibe (cue the distorted god like Prince narration). This is a driving track, pushing forward at rapid speed, building until its peddle hits the floor. This track should come with a government health warning!
3. Don’t Say Much - It is an absolute treat to have this performed on an official release, it has always been a personal favourite, it’s so much fun to experience and feel the fun that Liv is clearly having with this track. Its rare that you fall in absolute love with a song on an album and then hear it live and love it even more! There are delightful reminders throughout that this is live, with moments of Liv’s vocals away from the mic.
4. The Unexpected - ‘Written by the greatest’ this is the title track from her 2014 album. This open chorus gave Liv all the scope she needed to play and vocally take us on a journey. Her clear emotional connection with this song shines though with added improvisations. And… was that Prince jumping in the pool?
5. Embrace Me - ‘ba badah ba badah’…once you have heard this track that vocal riff will never leave you! Great song from Liv’s album of the same name. The ultimate sing along that is destined to even get the stubborn Dads singing along. By the end of this you won’t be singing it, you will be shouting it!
6. Mantra - Could this be the next ‘Bond’ theme? One word, Cinematic. If an audio could paint a picture this track would. It is the mantra everyone needs but disguised behind apocalyptic explosions of sound. I was interested to hear how this track would translate live as the layers build for the chorus, its warm and hard hitting without losing itself in it own wall of noise.
If you haven’t already I recommend checking out the corresponding music video to this single, there are also signed copies of this this 7’’ available on Liv’s website.
7. When Eye Lay My Hands On You - This Prince track from 2001 was an interesting choice but it instantly becomes clear why it was her choice of song, its chilled and laid back with a dream like texture that is smashed as the track builds. Liv really knows how to take you on a trip in a short time. It might be a slow burner but its not long before you're pulling that ‘nasty’ face.
8. Blackbird pt.1 and pt. 2 - This is the second track on the album ‘The Unexpected’ and as a result of it’s position within the context of an album it seemed strange to have this as the closing track as I have always viewed as an opener. It very much felt like this was acknowledged and as a result was adapted to have a part 1 and 2 on this album. Part one is the more ‘traditional’ version and the second allows for a call and response with a blues edge that closes the album well.
As she asks in this track, follow her on social media and tell everybody!
Many would call releasing a live album a risk, and for some, I am sure it is. This was not. The album is tight with a freedom and spontaneity that act as gentle reminders that this is in fact live and was not planned for release. This 50 minute album has already become my early morning commute listening, what better way to start the day?
If you love this release then we highly recommend that you experience it for yourself at one of Liv’s tour dates coming up this year in Europe. You will also soon be able to grab yourself a physical copy of this album….until then check out Liv Warfield on streaming platforms.
Listen to the album here:
Check out the podcast we did with Liv here:
Liv Warfield Tour dates:
11th March 2022 - Sweden Fashing
12th March 2022 - Norway Cosmopolite
17th March - Paris New Morning
19th March London Jazz Cafe