Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Live Review: Tom Brosseau

Entering the lavish surroundings of the Bush Hall auditorium, with its glistening chandeliers and circular tables protected by rouge tablecloths, BTA feels more like we've stumbled into an awards ceremony than a gig. Taking our seats, we settle down for an evening of high culture. Proceedings kick off with the charming Gaelic folk of Alasdair Roberts and the neo-classical Essie Jain, leaving us struggling to recall the last time we were in a room containing both a grand piano and a cello.

The main attraction for tonight though is to hear Tom Brosseau showcase tracks from his soon to be released LP, Posthumous Success. Our relationship with this bewitching blues-folk album has unfolded over time ranging from initial indifference to absolute submission by tonight. In person the impact is more immediate, where his uniqueness and eccentricity comes to the fore. Looking terrified on stage, dressed head to toe in blue denim, he appropriately plays "Favourite Colour Blue" early on in the set. Two versions of the song bookend the latest album, although sadly he chooses not to divulge the explanation behind this tonight. The song's most memorable for the subject matter, focusing around a dream involving a certain ex-Nirvana drummer being trapped in chains and forced to drum for Hole. The set is peppered with similarly entertaining lyrics, such as on the biting yet uplifting "Axe and Stomp":

See that one over there thinks he rules the roost / Little devil's got the nerve to call himself bruised / And I'm running around in circles like the world's biggest chump / Oh just wait till I get you between the axe and the stomp

This combination of poignant lyrics with delicate guitar arrangements and Tom's fragile croon lie at the heart of his appeal. As a finale he ventures among us, standing on chair to sing a captivating acoustic Tom Waits cover. With the talent on show tonight, the lyrics to his latest single deserve to be prophetic:

Winds of fortune / Are present every step I climb / I'm ready for the big time

Posthumous Success is released 11th May on FatCat Records

Tom Brosseau - Favourite Colour Blue

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