Do you ever listen to an album and think there’s no way vocals can sound that good in real life? That wasn’t the case with the Walls Group when they made their UK debut last night.
As it was their first time on our shores, we didn’t quite know what to expect. Sure, their music is great but how does it translate to a live setting? How much tomfoolery takes place with vocal effects in post production on their tracks? Well, even just hearing their harmonies live for a few seconds, it’s clear to see that these guys are the real deal. Their vocals are insane. And that wasn’t the only part of their set for us to take in.
Just as evident when we checked out the Walls Group as part of the UK STOP 2017 event was the stage presence they had. They moved, they danced, they were really energetic in their worship. It was an experience, not just to behold, but to take part in. And we were happy to do so. The Walls Group were more than capable of walking and chewing gum. Whenever they were dancing, the vocals didn’t suffer, which is key because the voices should always take precedence.
Switching things up
The Walls Group fill a very important gap in the market. They appeal to the youth demographic, who came out in full force to pack out Oasis House in Croydon. Their studio-based sounds work well with backing tracks, which is what they used throughout the night. That said, they weren’t afraid to get a little loose with the set list when needed. Sometimes, there was a need for some free-flowing worship, or an extended vamp. The musicians were top drawer so were able to seamlessly leap into action when called upon.
Speaking of which, it was clear to see that Darrel leads the group. He coordinates his siblings Rhea, Paco and Ahjah but also directs the musicians through the spontaneous bits. He knows what he wants and when working with the talented house band, things sound great – even on the fly.
Right upfront at the start of the performance, the Walls Group announced something exciting – a new album dropping on 3rd November. It’s something they’ve already been talking about over the summer and we’re excited about it, especially when you look at who’s producing for it. Warren ‘Baby Dubb’ Campbell and Eric Dawkins are part of the dream team working on the project. In fact, they produced the lead single My Life. Those guys make magic when they get in the studio.
Based the fact that they telegraphed the new album so early in the set, we were hoping they would give us a preview of more of the new material. Here, things were lacking. At least a peak under the magician’s cloak would have been appreciated. But with only a finite amount of time on stage, we did want to hear the hits. The likes of Love On The Radio, Perfect People and Satisfied were all present and correct.
Come through Phil Collins!
OK, there would be a gaping hole in this review if we didn’t mention the Phil Collins appearance earlier on in the evening. We’re not quite sure how she did it but Becca Folkes managed to do a little mash-up combining the favourite worship song The Anthem with In The Air Tonight by the eighties pop star. Becca Folkes is so creative. You cannot predict what she’s going to give you on any given night, so you shouldn’t try to. Just enjoy it.
We saw two groups for the first time. The Joint Gospel Singers kicked things off, while Shekinah made the audience sit up and take notice. In both cases, the harmonies were fantastic, in what seemed to be a theme for the evening. Elsewhere, Sarah Téibo and Guvna B knew the predominantly African audience at Oasis House would like their afrobeats-influenced tracks. They were right. I Will Sing by Mrs Téibo and Chale by Guvna were a hit.
We’re not going to lie. When we heard the Walls Group were jumping on a plane from their native Texas, we were excited. Their music packs a punch and does some unique things that we’re fans of. But that excitement wasn’t contained to the Sound Doctrine HQ. The venue (which was amazing by the way), filled up. Eventually. It was a fantastic night which everyone seemed to enjoy. It was almost like listening to the original recording – but better!