Sketching’s of various locations around the bar and musicians who have previously performed there, drawn by Rory McNeil, gloriously exhibited the walls of the social hub that had been advertised socially over the past week for the evening ahead. Me and my company bought our drinks, conveniently found a free table close to the performers stage and sipped quietly to ourselves as Tom prepared himself for his set.
Head down in anticipation, he announces ‘Situations’ as his starting song. His laid back persona matched his clothing, in a complimenting contrast that surprised us with a musky, powerful set of experienced vocals. He had his capo roughly half-way down the fret board, and as a result the notes sounded higher as he strummed on the strings, matching his simultaneously impressive percussive slapping technique. Once he played the last string he was warmly applauded, and his performing had incited the bar to ensure that they gave him a good response for every break between songs up until the remainder of his set.
His second song was used to show off more of his smooth, rhythmic playing as well as pleasantly impressing me with a slick tapping solo which he’d incorporated mid-way through. His relaxed expressions didn’t at all hinder his passionate attitude and his vocals maintained it’s unique style into his “new” third and final songs. I would guess that his compelling style is somewhat derived from a blues influence, based on his fair weathered vocals and lyrics following a relatively typical bluesy trait. Regardless, however, giving some consideration to his composure he kept a refreshingly well maintained set, acknowledged by the crowd in the measure of applause when he stepped off the stage.
Mat Pettifer, who was next to perform, played a good tune but unfortunately couldn’t grab the crowds attention as quickly as Tom had, but I was probably proved wrong when the bar applauded tremendously to his first play, which even he seemed surprised of when he modestly thanked their praise. His songs of choice were slow sing-a-long love songs. He played the right chords and could hit the vocal notes when needed, in a similarly laid back fashion. He would smile to himself occasionally, and from this I judged him as a man that’s passion is music, and he relishes with the opportunity to demonstrate his abilities without needing much attention to satisfy him. Which is great.
The repeatedly struck chords were appreciated enough to sustain the steadily growing audience. I believe that this was partly because his soft, calm performance style gave the crowd an chance to finally hear each other without having to spit down the other persons ear. A combination of this factor, as well as his crowd pleasing performance, rewarded him with exceptional applause from everyone there to witness.