As Far As I Can See / Monkey God / Wave Hello / Bless Them All / Consequences / Man Of A Thousand Faces / Old Ways / You Can’t Tell How Much Suffering (On a Face That’s Always Smiling) / Monsters / Gloria Descends / Bone / Buried Alive / Shatters / Falling Down / All About Time / Fall In Love With Me / The Point Of Darkness
review by oneofthethree
Opening night in Manchester and it’s the first time Tim’s new band have played to more than 10 people. The VIP soundcheck has them still working on arrangements of songs, how to end them and is a genuine and fascinating insight into how that process really works. It’s a little seat of the pants, but there’s an authenticity to it and there’s real excitement on stage and a great camaraderie between the band, even when Saul turns up half way through due to delays en route (via an organic coffee shop and plastic cigarettes). They try getting the crowd to sing the outro to Bless Them All and they decide to play a fourth song – All About Time – instead of fielding more questions.
The gig is sold out so the Club Academy is packed and warm by the time Unkle Bob finish their set and there’s a buzz in the air as it’s rare to see Tim so up close and personal these days. An old trick, but one that still works, is starting the set by coming through the audience and the whole band do this for As Far As I Can See, all singing along, finishing the song on the stage.
The set is perfectly paced throughout, it starts with two faster songs from Bone, before introducing the new album, a Regina Spektor cover, one of two Booth and the Bad Angel songs, a more obscure choice of a James cover, before back to Love Life, around which most of the second half of the set is based. Despite the lack of time to rehearse together, there’s a great chemistry between Tim and the rest of the band. Neil and Lee have played together for a long time in My Federation, Rob is a veteran of The Lovegods, who Tim supported at some very early solo shows in Brighton and multi-instrumentalist Dan brings a great versatility and subtlety to the mix. Add in Saul who moves between 12 string guitar and violin over the top and there’s a very potent mix.
It’s loud in the Academy and this gives a rockier edge to even the slower songs off Love Life. There’s points where the crowd are singing back even the newest songs. Tim forgets the words to the first verse of Gloria Descends and they stop it four times when even the Ipad doesn’t help and it actually adds to the evening, especially when Lee decides they’ll just go straight to the chorus and everyone else instinctively goes with him. It’s exciting and real and whilst it may not be to the bigger crowds of some of the city’s other venues that Tim has been in before, they know what they’re here for and there’s an energy in the room that you can only get in venues of this size.
A great opening night. Tim looks and sounds like he’s having a blast. Come with an open mind if you’ve not seen him “solo” before.