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Live / stage review

Wesley Gonzalez at Delicious Clam

Music for the soul and dance moves for the bedroom mirror.

23 November 2021,

Wesley Gonzalez: a singer of confessional soul and funk songs, a puller of ludicrous shapes, an air puncher, hip thruster and soul barer. A frontman made for stadiums yet too desperate to tell you his deepest secrets. In the intimate surroundings of Delicious Clam it’s a joy to witness someone so clearly in their element.

‘Change Your Circumstance’ opens the evening with its shimmering disco piano and wonky synth line, leading Gonzalez to croon the question, “Hell is the heaven that we all deserve / Have you got something to say or have you lost your nerve?”

Like most of Gonzalez’s output, it’s pop music, but not as we know it. There’s a slightly blurred edge to the compositions, like drinking too much cough medicine and falling asleep to a Chic record.

Latest single, the ABBA-meets-Thin White Duke ‘Greater Expectations’, is a joyous contemplation on the dangers of seeking validation through social media. The warm, swooning synth bedding of ‘Change’ slows things down and allows Wesley to fully strut his stuff, showing off his beautiful bright green trousers and lemon-yellow shirt combination.

Moving through a setlist made up mostly of tracks from his latest album, Appalling Human – an album influenced by Ghanaian house music, therapy and catharsis – the intensity ramps up. ‘Wind Your Neck In’ sees Gonzalez deliver the line, “French tips, an emery board / Do not touch something you can’t afford,” with so much sass it’s almost eye-watering. By this point, he’s bare chested and in full Freddie Mercury mode.

Like most shows at Delicious Clam, it feels special. The limited capacity means there’s an exclusivity to each performance, but there’s also a strong sense of community and a lack of barrier between the audience and artist.

‘Did You Get What You Paid For?’ is a fitting way to end the set, and at the risk of sounding obvious, the answer is ‘yes, now I want you to play another song’. The band oblige, finishing with 'When I Fell For You' from the upcoming album Wax Limousine, leaving the audience with a taste of what's to come from Gonzalez in the future.

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