Tom Williams and the boat at the Old Queen's Head in London, March 3rd 2011
Tom Williams is a very dedicated person, to his band, to his songs and to his fans. Little did I know how things would turn out that particularly chilly night. Tom Williams and the Boat were set to play at the Old Queen's Head in London after their CD release party the week before in their hometown Turnbridge Wells. I was supposed to interview Tom before the show and film a little acoustic session but the venue was so noisy that we decided to do this at the very end of the night. Add to that that Geri was a bit sick and the night didn't look so promising but anyway, I was happy to be here to see this fantastic band whose first album is remarkable.
Tom Williams and the boat took the stage at roughly 10:30pm, a bit later than scheduled. The venue was pretty packed with most of the people standing near the bar while the centre was occupied by people sitting in comfortable chairs or on the floor. The show started at a fast pace with Strong Wheels. Tom was already singing heartedly while Geri, visibly not in the best shape, still made her violin scream. 24, the album opener, followed with this strong impression that the band had a good grip on its sound by displaying some mighty guitars. Anthony especially appeared to be on fire and he was tearing up every string of his guitar.
Concentrate kept the momentum going forward with an incredibly agressive sound but was almost overshadowed by the title track of the album, Too Slow. The song innocently started like a quiet acoustic ballad with a plaintive violin and then suddenly things changed. The heartbeat accelerated, Tom's harmonica sounded maniac. After a short break, the band resumed its crazy run as Anthony once again burnt the place with his guitar. Tom and Anthony finished the song by shouting as hard as they could for easily the most impressive song of the night.
Little bit in me is in the trend of a more electric and incisive sound that the band has adopted while Neck brace had a nice softer tone. Right after this, Tom was told that they had the time for only one more song, which means that the band had to cut short their set off of two songs. It was quite a disappointment considering that I came from Paris to see them but that was just the way it was and he couldn't do much about it.... except sing even more angrily the song Get older which never sounded so heavy and nasty.
The show was very successful despite being cut short, the songs sounded fantastic. The band seems to lean toward this more electric sound while they are still able to add some really nice acoustic ballads to the mix, which tells a lot about their talent and versatility. Tom told me after the show that he was very satisfied with the overall performance. Indeed apparently it went much smoother than the Turnbridge Wells show where everything that could go wrong went wrong. The band looks primed to have a very successful year after releasing an excellent debut album.
That said, I still didn't have an interview or an acoustic session done and I was highly motivated after spending a fantastic day with the awesome band Ellen and the escapades and filming a superb acoustic session link. Tom suggested to go around the corner to make an impromptu live take of Wouldn't women be sweet as he had to catch the last train. I was a bit shocked that he gave so much importance to my demand while I would have easily understood if that was too late or not the good conditions to do this but this showed his commitment and his determination, which I found absolutely unbelievable. As I said before, it was freezing cold and I don't know why but I removed my coat and started filming in the dark night with only a few street lights. It was difficult for Tom to sing as well but he soldiered on and probably delivered quite the most epic, most courageous and coldest version of Wouldn't women be nice that I would get to hear in my life. Even though things didn't go as planned, I can't think of anything more amazing than what Tom did. It was just incredibly gutsy and kind from him. No wonder why I am such a big fan. Just watch the video, it says it all.
(My deepest thanks to the band Tom Williams and the boat, especially Tom Williams for his kindness, commitment and his truly amazing talent, these five minutes in the cold provided probably the warmest admiration that I've ever felt for an artist and a person)