Every music head wants to be at the early discovery of what will become a living legend. I can only imagine those early pub crawlers who crammed into tiny holes to watch the likes of The Beatles and Bowie. The smoky piano bars that brought out the likes of Elton John and Lady Gaga. To be someone who “saw them first” is really the desire of any music junkie. Well, I think we can all safely agree that those who attended Tom Walker’s show at The Sunflower Lounge on 1 February can voice such a claim. We saw him first, and one day we will tell generations how we sat in an overheated basement to watch the birthing of a legend.
Tom Walker is a Scottish born and Manchester raised musician whose music is part rock part electro part singer songwriter part soul. If current powerhouses James Arthur, Jack Garratt, and George Ezra all birthed a musical child it would be Tom Walker. His raspy voice twinkles over deep electric jazz riffs that are intercut by electronic tracks. It’s truly an indescribable sound, and when played live yields an unbelievably energising show.
Tom took the stage of the Sunflower Lounge to a sold out crowd. In fact, all of Tom’s shows on this little tour are sold out. After two excellent openers Tom took the stage, starting off the night with hit “Rapture.” The sound effortlessly filled the small space, reverberating through the hearts and feet of the audience. The song is the new age rock that we have come to expect from Tom. With expanded guitar lacks and repetitive drums, the song seems to be shrouded in both a mysterious quality as well as joy. “Fly Away With Me,” a single released this past June, streams through next. With breathy tones softens the quickly paced lyrics depicts a scene of an escapist fantasy. The song picks up and with a 90s R+B vibe Tom sings about millennial love dripping with escapist desires.
Tom continues this concept of love and longing with “Home.” The heartbreak and depth of the song seems to truly emulate that intangible concept of longing and loss. It’s a breathtaking description of things that often remain wordless. The mood is lightened a bit with “Blessings.” Clearly a fan favourite, or at least a favourite for the mate standing next to me, the tune is a swinging jazz and singer songwriter style that stills and quiets the room.
New songs stream through the speakers for the next fifteen minutes intermixed with fan favourite “Play Dead.” All display a pop sensibility with upbeat drum repetition and elongated musical instrumentals during the bridge. “Just You and I” breaks the newer song streak. As the lights turn red Tom sings about what seems to be the joyful beginnings of new love. The song, while still holding tightly to the style, is lighter and more upbeat. “Sun Goes Down” was the final song to pour through the hall. The power grit of Tom’s voice rang through as the mixed media played with the drive of the drums. This song is anthem like; it could easily be used as the call for a generation.
Tom Walker is a star, or at least a soon to be star. His voice and style is unparalleled in the music world. His genuine joy and fan appreciation only makes the experience so much more enjoyable. If you are not a frequent listener of Tom, than you certainly will be very soon. Let us all watch now as this career takes off in blazing glory.
Listen to Tom Walker here
Reviewer – Kylie McCormick
Photographer – Marc Osbourne