Fresh from his win at the Brits, Best British Breakthrough act, Tom Walker returned to Glasgow to celebrate the release of his much anticipated debut album What a Time To Be Alive.
This was Walker’s third show of the day after playing in record stores in Dundee and Edinburgh. Tonight’s show in Glasgow is in collaboration with local record store ‘Love Music’ located on Dundas Street in the city centre adjacent to Queen Street Railway Station. They teamed up with Walker to sell album and ticket bundles for the show at SWG3. After picking up my ticket and copy of the beautiful new blue vinyl Tom Walker album, it’s time to head to SWG3 located next to the River Clyde to see the man perform in person. The venue is a Studio Warehouse and has a very industrial and underground feel making it the perfect setting for a gig.
As Walker walked on stage, the crowd greeted him with cheers of “Go on Tam” which he admits he always enjoys on his trips to Scotland. He forewarned the fans that he may lose his voice – after all it was third show of the day! The crowd need not have worried as he began his set with a stunning performance of 2018 single Angels, an ode to the everyday heroes in society that never get the recognition they deserve. Its content was summed up perfectly by his remark: “What have the Kardashian’s done for you recently?”.
The stripped back set continued with himself, his guitar and keyboard player Pete. The highlight of the set came when All That Matters was performed; a track encapsulating the life and experiences of his gran, inspired by their conversations, which will feature on the upcoming deluxe version of the album. It was a truly special moment to witness as the crowd watched silently in awe of Tom’s powerful voice across the emotional song. His gran, who has become a local celebrity in Glasgow was there looking on proudly at her grandson. Tom admits himself that his ‘Granny Sadie’ does more press than him. The performance closes with his most well known single, Leave a Light On, which is met with rapturous applause from the home crowd.
Supporting local independent record stores is clearly important to Walker, who also performed at Assai in Dundee and Edinburgh. In recent years, music streaming via platforms have been rising in popularity and this is how vast numbers of people consume their music, however, this is met with a push to support independent record stores. Buying a physical copy of an album supports the artist and the wider music industry. These stores are competing with supermarkets and high street chains, stocking a much wider variety of music, films and memorabilia. They also have extremely knowledgeable staff on hand to help and recommend new music you may not otherwise have discovered. Record shops are also a great place to meet fellow music lovers and find out about upcoming gigs in the local area. They often collaborate with artists for signings and in-store performances which bring custom to the store and help promote the artist, rallying towards exciting plans for Record Store Day.
The collaboration between artists like Tom Walker and independent music stores is vital to maintaining the support for local record shops, the artists they sustain and keeping events like Record Store Day thriving (Saturday 13th April).
By Cailin McKie (Twitter: @cailinmckie)