Last week I headed to Kingston to a little pub venue called The Cricketers to see some of my favourite local musicians, most of whom I’d met at open mic nights in Southampton. Headlining was Tim O T, accompanied by his backing band, who delivered a very enjoyable set with his songs that “ironically combine life, love and politics with his cynical, optimistic and tenacious attitude”.
Support acts came from a fantastic range of acoustic acts. First on was Charlie Law, who’s musical talent shone through and performed in a folk style to a very attentive crowd; his song about a Camper-van was my personal favourite. Up next was Rob The Liar who, as always, had the audience gripped with his unique and clever story-telling lyrics. No matter how many times I see him, I greatly enjoy his set and can’t help but sing along to his songs. Joel Williamson followed, who I’d not seen before but certainly impressed me with his Bob Dylan-esque vocals and dynamism on guitar. Gaz Brookfield was the penultimate act, and his energetic set was warmly received by the crowd, particularly finisher ‘The West Country’. Tim O T’s set brought in the biggest and liveliest crowd, with people dancing and singing along – it was an entertaining end to a lovely range of live acts.
I caught up with Tim after his gig by his merch stand (he spilt his pint over some of his t-shirts and CDs, but even that didn’t dampen his spirits as the evening had gone rather successfully!)
Is The Cricketers one of your local venues? It seemed like a hidden gem! You work there?
Yeah the Cricketers is brilliant. It’s very close to my heart. I use to sneak in when I was about 16 to play the open mics, it was a great laugh!
I started working here the other week. The landlord gave me a few part time bar shifts as a favour.
The gig was described by my friend as being “Genuinely the strongest line-up he’d seen at a venue in Kingston”. Are you happy with how it went? It was cool to see you with a backing band. You had a great response from the crowd!
Wow! Thank your friend from me, that’s incredible. I am very proud of tonight, all of the support acts were equally amazing in there own way.
Is it fun to meet musicians on the road in a similar place to yourself, and then end up gig sharing with them around the country?
It is, it sort of reminds you that I’m not alone. I’ve met some of my favourite musicians on the road and I’m overwhelmed to be on the same bill of them sometimes – Saturday was a good example of that…
How did you meet Charlie, Rob, Joel and Gaz?
Charlie is an old friend, we met in a bar and he produced my last album (Stereotype-cast). He’s annoyingly talented, he writes songs, produces and he even played piano on my upcoming album!
Rob found me on Strummerville, we gig swapped and now we’re friends!
Joel I’ve known for a while, but only recently become friends with him – he really blew everyone away on Saturday. I was seriously impressed.
Gaz is a lovely bloke. I am a big fan of his music and we ended up on the same bill in Southampton, that’s how we became music-pals!
What is it you love about writing music and performing live?
Hmm… I don’t really know. All the normal stuff, seeing people sing your songs is nice. It might sound really pretentious, but I have a lot of self belief in my songs and although I haven’t got a HUGE fan base, I get messages and e-mails that suggest people are really emotionally connected with my music and that gives me a lot of drive to carry on and improve myself. I guess I want to be that form of escapism for them.
Who are your influences, and have you met any of your idols?
I have a big pile of influences. To make things easier, regular comparisons are: Jamie T, Bright Eyes and Frank Turner – which I’m fairly happy with.
There’s also a lot of “hidden” people who influence me a lot: Joel Williamson, Sanchez VS Fighter Pilot, James Lamb, Rob The Liar, Ben Marwood, Bojangle.. the list could go on forever.
I’ve met a Frank a couple of times, we shot a music video the other month “Unheard voices”. Jamie T? He fell over the other week and I helped him put his hat back on… does that count?
What are your plans for the next few months gig-wise? Are you doing any festivals in the summer?
My new album is being released next month which I’m really over-excited about! Apart from that, just constant gigging, I’m trying to get booked anywhere and everywhere. I plan to play festivals this summer, nothing set in stone yet!