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- Cargo, London »
- Tom McRae »
After spending the night wrapped in the wonderfully chill atmosphere 'neath the railway arches of Cargo, I've decided two things: One, warehouse conversions are quite possibly one of the best creations man ever stumbled upon, and two, I love Tom McRae. And this isn't the kind of love where you wake up the next morning, hear the artist again on the radio, and go, 'Dear God, what was I thinking?' Oh no, this love of mine is genuine and will ultimately result in the unabashed purchasing of one (or two) albums....money permitting.
To be fair, I had never heard Tom before last night, so all I was expecting was some nice background folk-type jazz stuff. And after a rather disappointing opener (though John Hogg did have an amazing vocal range, his guitar work was a bit lacking for me), I was really hoping to be impressed. But after our leading man took the stage and embarked on a 16-song set (which included not one, but two encores), I was fully captivated. The guitarist was joined by a 5-piece set (keyboards, violin, 2 cellos, and a drummer, who had to play hunched beneath the background screen, poor thing). The show was the last of a set of four smaller shows that he had planned around London before embarking on tour in support of angsty Tori Amos, and the intimate setting suited him perfectly.
In between playful banter with the audience, Tom wove in and out of songs spanning from his earliest album to his new release, 'All Maps Welcome,' sometimes not even stopping to pause between tracks. The violet-blue lighting set the stage perfectly for the absolutely calming atmosphere created by the combination of Tom's falsetto voice, poignant lyrics, and brilliantly blended instrumentation of his band.The cellos added a rich depth to the songs, and the violin accompaniment couldn't help but remind me of Damien Rice (which is a definitey compliment in my book). Every so often, Tom would break away from the mic and proceed to launch himself into one of those 'in-it' jam sessions which any Dave Matthews fan would enjoy and appreciate, re-entering the moment to hear the entire crowd of fans chanting the lyrics as he played along. A tearjerker, I'm sure. The only downside to Tom's music is that it is sometimes so smooth and captivating that you miss out on the lyrics, which in most cases are quite magnificent.
All in all, a wonderful night to be had by McRae fans and newcomers alike. And after apeasing his crowd with two encores, our frontman called it a night. He'll be joining Tori for a set of UK and European dates this summer, afterwards returning to do a massive list of dates on his own. Check out his site for more details.
Thanks to Aid and the fan message board at www.tommcrae.com for the pic from last night's gig!