Julian Velard, The Islington, London
Pianist, singer-songwriter and entertainer Julian Velard made a welcome return to The Islington on Sunday night, rounding off his latest European visit on what have become regular trips over from New York to favourite venues in Amsterdam and London.
There have been changes in his life of late, and they’ve only added to his performance. His recent status as a first time father has, after an initial fallow period of what he says was over a year, provided a rich seam of material for his trademark no holds barred observations on life and music. As if to emphasise this point, first up was “Love Again For The First Time”, Velard’s biggest hit to date. This was the first of a few songs early in the set that deliberately compartmentalised the time he spent in London eleven years ago when he was mostly singing them, as he put it, to try and get laid. Apparently it worked to a degree.
Julian Velard, family man
Nowadays however he’s a family man, albeit with acerbic observations about the rip-off cost of childcare, in “Nanny and a Hard Place,” and the feeling that no one listens to him at home any more in “Maybe It’s Me”, two songs from his recent EP Sad Dad.
As ever, the Velard tongue was never far from its cheek. It’s perhaps surprising to those in attendance that this engaging performer is not better known, given the high quality of his song writing, but the fickle nature of the music business is delightfully addressed in “The Night Ed Sheeran Slept on My Couch”, a tale based upon real events. His respectful take on Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” was also worthy of note for its delicate jazz chord substitutions.
Between all the stage banter it’s easy to forget that, armed with just a piano and solo vocal, Velard has a special talent, crafting songs that are delivered with a harmonically full piano sound and rich vocal depth, standing up well in this format. Anybody who can write a song that gets to the point in the way “Glad I Wasted All My Time With You” does deserves to be heard. We await his next UK visit eagerly.
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