A second visit in a week bought me back to The Hope in Brighton, I’m starting to like this venue- the sound is great (although I am assured it’s not as good as it can be) and there is always a drinks offer on gig nights.
It would be a late start for Tom Williams and his ever faithful Boat tonight. This Communion run night had three (four?) bands on before they were- so their estimated time to start was 10.50.
On a school night.
Despite my usual ethic of watching the support acts, I utilised this ‘No Children’ time to have a pleasant sit down and chat with my better half, Lucy. Nice.
When it was finally time to pop upstairs and watch the band, one thing I did notice that the crowd had thinned considerably (I had poked my head in earlier- and was quite pleased at how busy it was.), it was obvious there were a lot here to see their mates in the other (local) bands. Pity really, as they would be missing a great band in Tom Williams And The Boat.
This also meant, however, that I could get to the front.
Tonight’s set would be a well paced, folk-rocker of a show- after a strong start with the excellent ‘My Bones’, the count-in foot-stomping single ‘Teenage Blood’, we then had one of only three tracks that preceded the band’s second album ‘Teenage Blood’ in ‘Concentrate’.
This was a hard-hitting start that I could feel- the air from David The Drummer Boy’s Kick Drum was rippling my clothing, I’d not experienced this before, maybe because I can’t remember anyone ever hitting the skins as hard as David does. Except maybe Sheila E- but I was waaaay back in Wembley Arena’s seats then.
The pace eased up, as we were treated to one of my favourite ‘Blood’ tracks, ‘Little Bit In Me’, those little vignettes of fictional family life still make me chuckle. It was a pity though that the quieter parts weren’t respected by some of the audience, showing that seemingly growing problem at gigs- the ‘talking whilst the band plays’ routine. Really, The Hope is fairly small, so the door is pretty close if you want to pop out and chat.
Another two tracks off ‘Blood’ followed- ‘Neckbrace (Big Wave)’ and should-be single ‘Too Young’, two tracks that show Tom’s uncanny knack of crafting instantly likeable songs. The keyboard work in ‘Too young’ is a real treat, with a simple and effective motif that brings the track to life.
A glance at the set list told me the next track was to be ‘Suzanne’- a Leonard Cohen cover? No, it was a new Boat track being aired, no surprises that I liked it!
The band as a whole sound great, whether it’s Geri’s beautiful violin playing, Josh’s backbone bass, Chris’ tinkling keys or the power of Axe-Man Ant, the way they all gel together is really showcased with the closing ‘Big Three’ of the night.
Starting with the slow burner of ”Trouble With Truth’, through the angry-belter that is ‘See My Evil’ and finishing with the epic barroom stormer of ‘Get Older’, the band certainly had me bopping like some sort of mentalist, and leave me wondering if they could ever write a more suitable last track- on record it is fantastic- live it’s an incredible experience. Just wish more folk had joined in…