So this was my third time seeing Tom Walker live, the first being at Brixton Academy in 2019 where I classed him as the best breakthrough artist of that year along with Lewis Capaldi. The second time in 2020 at this same venue (Omeara) for Brits Week where he played an intimate gig with a string quartet backing him up.
I’ve always spoken highly of Omeara and its sister venue Lafayette. Coming to this show I thought I was going to get another intimate chilled gig, which is what I am familiar with having visited this venue many times before. Instead Tom came with pretty much a full backing band and admittedly, I was slightly sceptical of what kind of show he was going to put on at such a small and intimate venue. Naturally my sceptical thoughts were proven very wrong which I was extremely happy about as the gig was so good.
Tom opened up with Not Giving In which started off as a smooth mellow rhythm, much like the audio version on his album to a then what I can only describe an absolute rock and roll banger. As the song really got going Tom shouted to the crowd, “it’s been 2 years since I last performed live, jump with me now! let’s go!” As he and his backing band belted out the song and the crowd gladly accepted.
As always, Tom covered his chart topping hits Just You and I and Better Half of Me which were both written about his now fiancé who was in the crowd. He gave her a little shout out making the crowd aware they are getting married this year which was a very warm moment with the crowd applauding the news. Can I just give a shout out at this point to one of the backing band members on the guitar who produced such wonderful harmonies all evening, particularly to Better Half of Me and to Tom’s new upcoming single, Universal Love.
Talking of new songs, there were quite a few on the night unsurprisingly given Tom (and other music artists too) had time on their hands given the pandemic. The first song called Stigma was very heartfelt with lyrics such as “wish I could be strong so I don’t feel ashamed” and the follow up, his newly released single, Something Beautiful was so much better live. Tom went on to explain his thinking behind some of these new songs which relate to how he got through the pandemic. All of them were as smooth as the next, Serotonin a song which Tom said was about “finding the little joys of everyday life” when he didn’t know how to sit still during the pandemic as his breakthrough made him so used to a touring lifestyle.
Freaking Out, another new song where he described as not knowing how to deal with normal life resuming after the pandemic and not knowing how to talk to people. There were a lot of heads nodding and cheering as people related to where Tom was coming from. For me however, the best new song, and maybe the best song of the night, was a song called Glory. I felt it had a very mysterious and conniving rhythm and beat that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. A Tom Walker kind of song, and yet, not a Tom Walker kind of song. It was out of the ordinary and I was very caught up in it. I hope he releases it.
So it seems like Tom’s new album when it gets released is going to be all about life through the pandemic and all the challenges and positives that came with that. I hope it turns out to be as good as his awesome guitar solos on the night!