Tom Misch @ o2 Academy, 12 November, 2018

From bedroom beat maker to melodic master of modern funk – Tom Misch has come a long way since he first started recording music as a fresh-faced teenager.

Now with several records under his belt, the South London-based artist-producer has been selling out venues across Europe – and he’s only recently turned 23.

On the back of new album Geography, armed with his soulful band and disco ball – obviously, Misch dropped by Birmingham’s O2 Academy on the second night of his UK tour.

The venue was all but sold-out with close to 3,000 turning out for an occasion set to be filled with the sounds of his jazz-infused pop. 

The voice of American jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove sampled from a 2011 interview signals the start of the evening’s affairs and new album opener Before Paris. 

“It’s like a special song, can move my mood along. But I cannot say you’ll hear through my guitar.”  Groovy single It Runs Through Me is next – albeit sadly and unsurprisingly without 90s hip hop icons and contributors De La Soul. But it doesn’t matter… fit with strutting basslines and chilled-out guitar licks it doesn’t take much to get the crowd moving.

While tracks from his three albums and other projects all feature, it’s the new stuff which impresses most. Disco Yes is as funky as its name suggests as his adoring fans passionately belt out the likes of love ballad Movie and more.

“Have we got any Outkast fans?” the Londoner calmly asks – sending the crowd into frenzy for a Misch-shaped rendition of their 2004 classic Prototype.

Older tunes are interestingly interspersed with newer numbers, with Geography’s Water Baby smashing into Crazy Dream – two tracks which close friend and regular collaborator Loyle Carner both rapped on.  He returns to 2015 album Beat Tape 2 for dance track Colours of Freedom before special guest Zak Abel is invited on stage to sing on the fantastic Beautiful Escape – the highlight of the set by some distance.

Misch brings the night to a close with Lost in Paris, returning soon after with a one song encore of South by the River. It’s a fitting end to the evening’s affairs and one that his fans – myself included – are genuinely gutted to see come to an end.

Earlier this year, he was quoted as saying: “When I finished ‘Geography’, I kinda felt like, ‘fuck making music for a couple of years,’ I just want to do other stuff now.”

We can only hope this won’t end up becoming reality as the future of music is nothing but Tom’s for the taking…

Reviewer: Tom Oakley

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