LIVE: Tom Misch @ O2 Apollo | 14.11.18
WORDS BY LUKE LIDDLE
Jazz-funk wunderkind Tom Misch transported his beats from the bedroom to the big stage of Manchester’s O2 Apollo as part of his tour in support of his debut album, ‘Geography’. Misch’s smooth R&B-cum-jazz stylings are complemented by the tour’s opening act, the instrumental Yussef Dayes trio, who come across as a thoroughly modern edition of a classic lounge band. Misch himself is treated to a rapturous welcome by the young crowd, striding onstage after the rest of his musicians warm up with “Before Paris’ and diving into ‘It Runs Through Me’.
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In comparison to his polished and perfected music, Misch’s lyrics are often trite, but in the context of the live performance, this does not hamper the crowd’s enjoyment of his sound. He is joined on the ‘Geography’ artwork inspired stage by a revolving cast of musicians, including a trio of saxophonists who dip in and out of the set, appearing now and again to add a dose of brass. Misch’s co-guitarist alternate between guitar and violin, an instrument which features prominently on Misch’s recorded output. The band sound well rehearsed and the acoustics of the O2 Apollo theater lend an intimacy to proceedings.
A surprising lull in the set came during a relatively faithful cover of OutKast’s ‘Prototype’. Misch is heavily indebted to artists such as OutKast and J Dilla and this is a serviceable cover, but one suspects that many of the audience may be too young to have a first hand recollection of the release of ‘Prototype’ in 2003.
The energy is otherwise kept up throughout the set, even during the more sedate moments (‘I Wish’, a seductive ‘Movie’), but especially when a giant disco ball descends from the ceiling and Misch deploys his guitar noodling and Nile-Rodgers-esque style funk on to bangers such as his emblematic ‘South of the River’. ‘Lost in Paris’ gets the loudest reception of the evening, with the crowd shouting the background lyrics in a call-and-response style. After the euphoria of ‘Paris’, the night ends in slightly more subdued fashion with the 2016 single ‘Watch Me Dance’. Misch is not the most charismatic of front-men and is a man of few words onstage, but excels as a bandleader and musician. The fact that he is only 23 is both impressive and also exciting, his ventures, both live and in the studio only promise to get even better from hereon out.