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Fanciful joy

Tilly and the Wall
Pabst Theatre
Milwaukee, WI
July 27, 2007
Tilly and the Wall Tilly and the Wall

Story and photos by The Bon Bons

Left of center indie artists Tilly and the Wall flew in on a magic carpet just in time to spread their pixie dust and dispense with beautifully sunny and offbeat melodies. Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska and naming themselves after a children's book titled Tillie and the Wall, written by Leo Lionni, the bands' quirky but charming music was filled with sugary choruses and tasty hooks. Everything was grounded by tap dancer Jamie Pressnall's hoofing it up on an amplified platform.

While there was a drummer present - his role was mostly that of a tapping bass drum when the tempo shifted faster. But it was primarily Pressnall's tap dancing that was the foundation for the rhythm section. Always smiling and stutter-stepping in time it was very hard to take your eyes off of her even though she was in the back row of the stage. To compensate for the lo-fi beats of the tap dancing the bass was turned down quite a bit as not to overpower Pressnall.

Three singers Neely Jenkins, Kianna Alarid and Derek Pressnall were all able to evoke separate moods within their three part harmonies. Their voices rose above the music on many occasions filling a void left by some of the low instrumentation. The perky cute Kianna was the most energetic as she danced and bopped form one bandmate to the next, never forgetting to flash her pearly whites for good measure. "Urgency" started off nicely with swirls of vibrant retro-pop melodies and the lyrics on "Rainbows in the Dark" dripped with universal sweetness.

Their lyrics are heartfelt and oddball simple - understood by any age. Tilly and the Wall succeeded in shining their "happy light" squarely on the 400 or so in attendance this evening. The eternally sunny disposition in their music and their beguiling live set make for an evening filled with fanciful joy.
Tilly and the Wall Tilly and the Wall
Tilly and the Wall Tilly and the Wall
Tilly and the Wall Tilly and the Wall
Tilly and the Wall Tilly and the Wall

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