Fabia, Chris Tavener and Thom Morecroft – Live show review

Thom Morecroft
Thom Morecroft (Photo: Jack Stanley)

What an honour it was to be invited to do my first review of a live presentation. When I was first contacted by Chris Tavener, I immediately went searching for his music. And I was instantly hooked. I loved Chris’s lyrics, and thought about how it is amazing that songs-writers like him can take everyday life situations and create art like his music. If you like music from Tim Minchin, you will love Chris Tavener (I’m making this connection myself. If I’m wrong about this – sorry, Chris!). Knowing that he was on tour alongside Thom Morecroft (tour which they named “The Long Way Home“), I also went after his music. Although they were both unknown to me at the time, I consider myself a fan now, and I will keep an eye for any new releases. And, of course, recommend to everyone I possibly can (even to those who don’t read my incredibly superb reviews). Thom is another great song-writer, as well as a great example of a storyteller through his music. I’m not sure if his lyrics is inspired by his own life, but they are gorgeous. However, what really drew my attention to Thom was his ability as a guitar player – an extreme virtuoso, to a point where I strongly believed there was more than one guitar player in his songs. It was only when I saw him play live that I realised I was wrong – and amazed. Both artists have an amazing reputation having both done nationwide tours, played sold-out concerts in major venues, as well having their music played across the UK at BBC Radio 6. Their curriculum is amazing. Now – let’s talk about the show.

Chris Tavener
Chris Tavener (Photo: Jack Stanley)

I had the opportunity to see the duo at the opening night of their tour of the UK. This first night happened in North London at the Slaughtered Lamb pub – that houses a small venue underneath the main pub. Before I get to the actual concert and the artists, I must mention the venue itself. Although small, it has a more cozy feeling than anything else. Small tables with candles and a dark ambiance lighted only by a large red neon sign of The Slaughtered Lamb with a pentagram symbol. With a bar available, you can quickly grab a drink and a seat to enjoy a great show and proximity to the artist, which is always a plus. Not to mention the sound! Anywhere you are in the room, the sound was perfect. It’s not a big room, however, coming from a a background as a sound engineer and audio professor, I know just how easy it is to make any room sound terrible. The show kicked off with Fabia, an extremely talented singer song-writer – and excellent piano player – giving the already great evening, the perfect introduction. Her performance was a surprise to me – I was only expecting only Chris and Thom. But what a great surprise it was. Her set was mostly comprised of her own songs, which included lyrics about an ex-boyfriend (which she went to tell everyone he found out fairly quickly it was about him) with the song “Fell Awake“, and gorgeous songs about life and London (“London City”). Her voice was just incredible. The way she could bounce between highs and lows, was enough to captivate everyone watching. I could see that people were simply immersed in her performance. But one personal highlight of her presentation was a cover of Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over”. Jeff is one of my favourite artists of all time, in spite of his short career and unfortunate early passing. And seeing someone perform such a beautiful version of this song was touching. After this wonderful intro, came Chris Tavener. As I mentioned before, Chris is extremely talented in capturing everyday life and putting it to music. But most importantly, he does that in a funny and witty way, all over a layer of vintage sound. He came on stage with his full performance outfit, a nice grey suit, ready to engage the audience with his lyrics.

Fabia (Photo: Jack Stanley)

He first started with an homage to Harry Styles with his song “Praise Him” – and between mentions of the One Direction’s member talents and having posters of him in his room, the audience was engaged and hooked. The ease with which he got the audience entertained and participating in his performance was just incredible. He asked them to join him in choruses, and made them laugh while he made funny expressions during songs – like in his song “Apocalypse Prediction” where he tells stories of how sure we are that the world is going to end in 1999, 2012 or any day now. And must not forget to mention one of his overwhelming hits – “Modern Romance” – that tells a tale of falling in love in the modern days – nested inside the cosy comforts of a toilet stall while you both are drunk. Chris Tavener is certainly unique! And be sure to check his latest single – “Faking Cool”. Brilliant song which he also played that evening. Listen, watch and buy the T-shirt. On to the headline of the evening – Thom Morecroft. I’ve spent years watching artists play the guitar. Artists play the guitar and sing. A singer and song-writer like Thom Morecroft, is something you don’t get to listen to everyday. As I said in the beginning, I listened to many (if not all) of Thom’s songs before going to this show. Listened to it many times, to the point that I was almost singing along. But it is normal to expect that an artist had some enhancements (even slightly) done to his voice during the recording process. But, with Thom Morecroft what you hear is what you listen – just a playful way of saying that his voice during the show sounded exactly like the recordings. My jaw dropped. Every note, every high and low (no – it’s not A-HA), was spot on. He played through a series of his songs – including some of my favourites – “Daisy”, “Time Will Tell” and “On All Night”. Although I only discovered his music recently, I was so happy he played some of my top choices, especially considering that he has over 3 EP’s released. And if you ever have the privilege of watching him play live, if you are a true music lover, you will be hypnotised by his guitar playing. Remember in the beginning of this review how I mentioned the guitars? Well, what I thought was more that one guitar player, it was just hime. No pedals, or sound effects. However he can play like that and sing at the same time is a secret he, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer and a handful of other players will probably carry with them – along with the countless hours of practicing I presume. One final very special thank you to the talented (and still young) photographer Jack Stanley who shared with me the photos you see here in this article. Do not miss the chance to check out more of his material. Thank you Fabia, Chris and Thom. Great music, great songs, great banter between Chris and Thom (although they didn’t play at the same time). The night was just perfect.

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