By Desh Kapur
“What A Time To Be Alive”
Liverpool Olympia was my venue of choice tonight to catch Tom Walker on his UK tour and what a great venue it is! Built in 1905 as a purpose built indoor circus and variety theatre, it is one of very few of its kind left in the country and yet still retains a lot of it’s original features and architecture. Long live venues like this; they have true soul.
Right now Tom Walker is having the time of his life. With two top ten singles in the UK charts, a number 1 album in the UK album charts and a Brit award for Best Breakthrough Act, wouldn’t you be be smiling too? “What A Time To Be Alive” indeed!
So as the man walks on to the stage wearing the obligatory beanie, he has the air and confidence of a man whose future looks very bright and the roar from the crowd in the sold out venue seems to back this up.
He grabs the mic and launches into the first song of the night, the very soulful “Angels” , with his fairly unique distressed vocal style which is silky smooth in parts, gruff and almost Louis Armstrong-like in other parts. Couple this with his rap-influenced twang which reminds me at times of Maverick Sabre, his voice fills the auditorium with relative ease.
Backed by what I can only describe as a very funky and tight band and one backing singer, he launches into songs from his debut album “What A Time to Be Alive”. He sings songs about friends, good times, bad times, drug addiction, lost love and love found and everyone in the room would seem to have at least one song that speaks to them personally. Maybe that’s why the album went to number one, its very relatable. Even with Tom playing some tracks from his new album, it’s still the big hitters that stand out by a country mile; “Leave A Light On’, “Just You And I” the song he recorded with Rudimental “Walk Alone” and the Sara Larson duet “Now You’re Gone”.
Tom Walker is very current and his music seems to blend many genres and styles that dip into the likes of reggae, soul, blues and even hip hop. This seems to have given people the licence to nicely pigeon hole him into the Ed Sheeran, Rag and Bone Man ballpark, but he is not the poor cousin. He writes a very good song and carries them with his own styling, hopefully this will be enough for him to break out of the box people seem to want to put him in, but only time will tell.
“Better Half Of Me”
“Just You And I”
“Leave a Light On”