Mid-March, Tom Walker wowed crowds in Nottingham, not only with his beautiful gravel-like voice, but with his warm, vibrant persona.
This was epitomized not only on-stage, but in his pre-concert invitation to his fans to Jam Cafe as well; playing a couple of tunes, checking out some, local talent. I feel that these are the kind of acts on his part that help gain the sense of connection and familiarity between the artist and the fans.
His recent release ‘Leave A Light On’ reached 50 million streams on Spotify, so it was easy to see how this show had sold out. Tom’s opening act, popularly known by his stage name, “The Beach”, George Morgan walked onto stage with nothing but his guitar and his voice, which flowed into the audience. While his performance was (quite obviously) relatively muted to that of Tom Walker’s, I would say that he definitely won the crowd over at the close of the night, both with his soulful lyrics and charming, grounded disposition.
One could sense an immediate shift in the crowd’s moods as they moved and fidgeted to get a better view, scrambling to reach higher ground while looking over to random strangers with comradeship and understanding; I would know, I was one of them. To elucidate: though the crowd was a relatively small one, the hall was PACKED.
Walker has released a few singles and his music so far has been difficult to pin down to a particular genre, or theme. He describes it as “a mix between hip hop, a tiny bit of blues, a bit of pop with a splash of reggae.” This is perhaps why his music has appealed to such masses of followers over such a short span of time. Likewise, his strident, rough voice somehow complements the raspy edge and clashing instrumentals of “Rapture” (my personal favorite), as well as the depth to his lyrics in “Fly Away with Me”, which carry a sense of escapism and longing. The melodic riff carrying the simple yet genuine lyrics of “Just You And I” put the crowd under a spell and a couple nearby grew misty-eyed. Tom graced the crowds with two unreleased singles, namely “Cry Out” and “Dominoes.”
“Dominoes” seems to lament the damage done to our plane, and is almost a call for action. Among his songs, the fans particularly seemed to love “Karma” and “Blessings”; the applause that greeted these songs implied that these were definite favourites. Indeed, the elation in the room was almost tangible. Honestly speaking, we were so deeply in the music that you couldn’t tell where the music stopped and our blood began. It was a surreal feeling; dancing along to the music, drowning out all forms of static, belting out the lyrics with other fans.
Mid-way through a song, a guitar string snapped on-stage. While he must have felt the audience rousing, Tom maintained his composure and was quickly handed over another guitar by his manager back-stage. This was done so efficiently that I did not notice the mishap until Tom confided in me during an interview afterwards. In retrospect, this was you could account this to his banter and charisma on stage, which gave rise to conversation between him and the fans, diffusing any technical errors. That being said, one must acknowledge that his band behind him was nothing short of fantastic as well. Tom Walker perfected the night by punctuating his performance with “Leave A Light On.”
When he was done, the crowd applauded thunderously, some of them pounding the tables and stamping as well. The night was fantastic.
By Deepshikha Shah