Two Voices Two Guitars and a Piano
Rob Richings opening for Tom Baxter
The Convent, November 21st 2015
Introducing the world to the offerings tonight at The Convent, Matt Roberts, welcomed everyone tuning in for a live feed via Netgig and especially to the many Parisians listening in tonight. Live music and the atrocities in Paris are now tragically forever linked.
Two Voices – Two Guitars and a Piano. Tonight at The Convent, Rob Richings opening for the melodic and reflective electric Tom Baxter. (Bluesdoodles reminder read the rest and think why did I miss out this sell-out gig?) Do not despair help is at hand – pop along HERE to netgig pay a fee and you and watch the magic that was Saturday at the Convent.
Rob Richings opens the evening of delights that once again shows the captivating power of guitar and a singer/songwriter. The thirty minute opener was shaped by the recordings from his EP Half Way Up. We were impressed and yet again the live version has that extra layer of emotional connection. This was especially true for Lord In The Attic, a perfect song for the venue. The inspiration was a visit to a Roman Catholic Church in an Attic of a townhouse in Amsterdam, when Catholics had to worship in secret. In addition to the story telling within the songs we found out that Rob is off to Australia the following day to record an album watch out for its release as from tonight’s offering it should be a good listen. Other songs that stood out were Mississippi with its partial capo providing an alternative tuning and the only risk was the capo flying off. That didn’t happen tonight as the music flowed, The Convent warmed to the sounds as the anticipation grew for the moment Tom Baxter would be standing in front of the alter.
With a seamless flow Tom was on stage with two electric guitars a selection of songs from his back catalogue and some treasures from his album The Uncarved Block released October this year. If you love your music with meaningful lyrics and a tempo that is hypnotic, a man and a guitar plus some electronic magic; then like the packed house and the many joining the event around the world you are in for a real treat this is music without pretensions or boundaries, there is a stripped down simplicity and the emotions are distinctively authentic. The electronic wizardry was understated adding tonal layers and interest creating a wonderful atmosphere of 3-D sound. In the mix that flowed through the albums and there was no hard sell as Tom was concentrating in achieving the mix between vocals and muted electric guitar so that the sound soared and swelled around the stone of the Convent. This he achieved on every track as he shared his thoughts behind the songwriting and anecdotes of life that at times made the audience laugh. The music was the selling point and the audience was held enraptured as the warmth of the sound and strength from one man and a fender so stripped back it is electric acoustic at its orginal best. The title tracks for albums that contain many favourites Feather & Stone and Skybound, reminded everyone of the albums that are the soundtrack for many of the audiences lives.
It was for many the new songs we wanted to hear from the title track of the third album The Uncarved Block; that is about how live wears away and distorts the purity of the uncarved block of a new born and how we are all trying to get back to this perfect repose. Sitting at the Grand Piano, The Boy Beneath The Stone the opening track of the latest album, inspired by a serial killer and the mix of Tom’s vocal purity ant the blending of the ivories made the story and song compelling listening. The standout song of the night from the new album was Arc Of Your Mallet the guitar and vocals shaping the body of the song were captivating, proving that Tom has musical magnetism showing that less is often more when the lyrics have power.
Bullets linked two very different songs written for two diverse arenas where bullets are central to the soundscape. The nearly Bond film theme tune, You’re Bullet Proof, and The Last Shot a homage to the fallen of World War 1; capturing the power of fiction and the tragedy of reality.
This was a night when songwriting and guitar were celebrated and there is no argument that Tom Baxter
will cajole you with vocals that stride through the octaves from light to moodily intense and you will be immersed in a sea swell of sound that reaches deep inside your soul. Tom Baxter is music that speaks to you on a one-to-one level even when sat in a packed venue.
Another winning gig from the team at The Convent.