Tilly & The Wall
Orlando, Fl Nov. 5, 2006
by Jen Cray
Tilly & The Wall have a tap dancer instead of a drummer. Finding that out was all it took to sell me on attending their show... That and the fact that my favorite girls from Canada, Pony Up, were also on the bill.
The Social was packed! I could hardly believe how popular this small Nebraska band must be to have nearly sold out the venue, even after a free afternoon performance at Park Ave. Cds. It was absolutely crammed, and smoke-free on this night I should point out, by the time I arrived. Thinking that maybe a large percentage of the crowd were there to see local boys Band Marino do an early opening set I assumed the room would loosen up a bit after they played. Not the case. If anything, the room got tighter as everyone flocked to the floor beneath the stage.
The four sweet things that comprise the all-girl Pony Up quickly got the attention of the piles of people who anxiously awaited Tilly's set. Beginning with the quiet start/poppy chorus of "Dance For Me," the young band picks up where That Dog left off. They're frisky (one song's chorus repeats the line "you got me wet" over and over), fun and playful with the audience. "Why is that guy in the back making funny gestures with his hands?" drummer Lindsey Wills asks of an audience member who enthusiastically gave the wavey fingers gesture that references a wicked guitar solo. Don't ask me why he did this for a band that, as fantastic as they are, aren't necessarily guitar virtuosos. After vocalist/keyboardist Laura Wills explained the gesture to her sister on drums she then poked fun at Lindsey, "Don't mind her, she doesn't understand it if it doesn't have to do with playing drums."
When Tilly & The Wall came out they did so like kids skipping onto a playground- in a single file line, clapping. The joyous energy was contagious and soon the whole room was smiling and swaying along to the gorgeous harmonies of the four different vocalists (2 girls, 2 boys) that recall The Mamas & The Papas. The much-anticipated tap dancer was not only wonderfully unique as a source of percussion, but also damn cute. She spun around and flung her arms about with the energy of a 12-year old at a dance recital- which she probably was not too long ago. Her feet drove the rhythms and gave the upbeat tunes a bright feel that could be felt throughout the place. Neely Jenkins and Kianna Alarid are the female leads whose vocals give the lighthearted melodies layers of sweet depth.
Ironically, as the happy vibes reigned inside The Social, a girl who had been forcefully removed during the set was outside fighting with the club's security and Orange County Police. Kicking, fighting and even receiving a shot from a tazer (she appeared not to even notice), until one of the officers actually broke her nose to finally put her down. What this chick was on I can't say, though rumors of PCP were speculated. When I left the club feeling high on the good sounds of Tilly & The Wall, I had to cross the street to avoid the girl on the concrete who lay in a puddle of her own blood. 'Twas not a sight I expected to see outside of an indie/pop show.
To see more photos of this, and other shows, go to www.jencray.com