Tom Mann at The Joiners (23/11/2012)

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Equivalent to an exciting toy shop nestled among boring banks and post offices, The Joiners is simply the most lovely little music venue located on an otherwise irksome street. Once described by The Arctic Monkeys as ‘a place where you have to play to get started’, headlining a gig here at only 19 years old is surely the sign of a promising future for local singer / songwriter Tom Mann.

Entirely engaged in a fascinating chat with Tom’s manager about his musical career to date, I unfortunately missed 6 minutes to Sunrise, a local dynamic rock band. Next up were The Stealers, they may not be the best looking band, as the girl next to me pointed out, but they’re not bad sounding. After listening to their varied set of original songs, broken up with some on stage banter, I come to the conclusion that The Stealers best fall into the rock-folk genre. As you can imagine combining melodic country-folk vocals with electric guitar and often heavy percussion results in a very original sound.

As soon as The Stealers have finished, the mixed-age, mixed-gender audience began to creep forwards making it clear that well over half of them, although having enjoyed the other acts, were there to see Tom. The young man (no pun intended!) first revealed his music to the crowd through a warming acoustic song in which he over emphasizes specific words adding an extra dimension to his vocals. The following song, full of lyrics like, “I will make you happy”, had every girl in the audience wishing that he was singing about them.

Tom was evidently enjoying himself up on the stage, chatting away to the audience, giving a joyful and communistic feel to the gig and these feelings were only heightened when his band came on to back three songs taken from his EP. Tom was energized by the band and the crowd enjoyed a little sing along to ‘Might have it all’ which is a personal favorite of mine due to its bouncy melody and playful varied pitches.

The 10 song set also included a cover medley that accommodated Ed Sheeran’s ‘A team’, which whilst sounding so similar to the original he could have won Stars In Their Eyes with it, it portrayed Tom singing in a slightly different style to usual and was a definite crowd pleaser.

The penultimate song ‘Beautiful’ positively lived up to it’s name, with soft and dulcet tones it’s the sort of song you could have on repeat all day and subsequently, you would go to bed feeling happy and at one with the world.

“See, it wasn’t that hard was it!?”, Tom cheekily states to the audience after his concluding song ‘Saviour’ where he got us doing the backing vocals almost the whole way through. It isn’t hard to tell that Tom coaches football in his spare time, but the persona of confidence that he releases on stage only compliments his charismatic personality and highly credible work.

Lyrically, he has a fair way to go to reach a higher level of sophistication and variation, but with his original voice giving him the rare ability to probably be able to make a song about tarmac sound tantalizing, Tom’s performance last Friday night was highly entertaining for all of the right reasons and he is without a doubt something to be excited about for the future!

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