Wedged between the ‘beast from the east’ and ‘the pest from the west’, Oran Mor’s basement venue is filled to the brim. A few days earlier and the gig might have been called off. There’s a near-tangible anticipation for good live music that fills the room, an anticipation that rivals recent public hunger for bread and milk. Tom walks on stage with a smile and evident enthusiasm, but there’s a certain lack of warmth brought to the crowd with instrumental intro track ‘The Journey’. Misch is undeniably talented and is garnering recognition globally, with sold-out tours across the UK, Europe and the US. Collaborations with Loyle Carner, De La Soul, and King Krule give him the musical accreditation he deserves.
Yet, flung from his bedroom studio to a multitude of gig venues, I can’t help but feel that his live act is still to be refined. The tracks perhaps don’t connect as much with the crowd as they could, and a lack of interaction with attendees meant I was left standing in a room which gabbled away during the slower tracks. I can’t help but want more. More ‘oomph’, more jazz, more spontaneity, more crescendo and tempo – more of a show. Amongst J. Dilla inspired beats the crowd sings along to a (chilled) cover of ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ louder than most of Tom’s originals.
Misch brings out guest singers and musicians (including Tom’s sister, Laura Misch), which brings more of a response from the crowd. It Runs Through and Movie are both encouraging signs of his music maturing, and could be an indication of what is to come with his debut album, Geography. Other more upbeat and energetic tracks such as South of The River and Everybody Get Down also reveal promising indicators of Misch’s full potential. These songs lifted up the room and gave people a sense of fun, in huge contrast to the slower numbers. The show indicates that 2018 could be a very good one for Tom Misch. All that’s needed is a dash of sureness, showmanship – and plenty of extra energy.
By Anthony Florida-James