SARINA REUBEN sees T WALMSLEY take to the stage at The Sebright Arms for his debut solo show as part of the Mad Seventies and Good Morning Keith “Pop up and party”.
Stepping out from the shadows as the bass player and co-songwriter of Temples, one doesn’t know what to expect of Thomas and band, but if the aptly named Lost Wages EP is anything to go by, it may be a world away from the neo-psych sounds of his main gig.
As the crowd begins to fill the room, you can sense the anticipation and excitement in the air. The set opens with ‘On The Ice’ and it becomes immediately apparent that Thomas belongs at the front of the stage. Performance comes very easily and naturally to him as he sways and dominates the space. His vocals are as smooth as velvet with some baritone notes fitting with his larger than life presence. The ethereal sounds of the opener signal what would be a set filled with cosmic pop with nods to surf and ballads of days gone by.
The crowd is invited to step forward. What is it with gig goers in the UK, why are they so afraid to get up close and personal? This gesture elevates the sense of intimacy and changes the dynamics as we are invited to dive deep into the very heart and soul of the tale that is unfolding on that little stage. Thomas notes that is great to see so many familiar faces, those faces are certainly happy to see him perform.
Keeping with the surf theme and dreamy slide guitar licks, masterfully conjured by guitar player Murray Head (not him from ‘One Night in Bangkok’…), next comes ‘Hell In Hawaii’ a beautifully written song about heartache and longing, the line “I never could be so glad and be so sad all at once, in this paradise alone” captures the whole sentiment, the backing vocals of keyboard player Jade Taafe compliment this tale of doomed love affair.
‘Mirage’ is next, and is definitely one of the highlights of the night, a haunting melody, draped in melancholy, the audience is captivated and gets a further glimpse of Thomas’ aching narrative of life in the ‘Lost Wages’ world.
Stylistically the songs set the atmosphere perfectly, as we are taken to a dark corner of a Las Vegas casino that has known better days, where the omnipresent crooner bears his soul and wears his heart on his sleeve amongst the smell of stale cigarettes, aging gamblers and faded glamour. ‘Don’t Call Me (Daddy)’ follows on next and its clear see that the singer and the band are in their element.
What comes is unexpected, but makes total sense, a cover of Lana Del Rey’s ‘West Coast’, the song is performed at a slightly faster tempo than the original and Thomas totally makes it his own, a perfect song for this set and one that suits his vocal range, he certainly does it justice, coupled with a powerful drum beat of Heather Britton, it’s got gangster chic written all over it.
The set closes with the upbeat ‘99¢ Dreams’ which has a lovely ’80s synth feel about it and Chris Hallen’s Duran Duran-esque bass line drives the song onto a much more cheerful note to take us back into optimism and shake off the heartache.
The crowd is left hungry for more applauding and cheering, alas no encore but watch this space, Thomas is set to gift us with a debut album very soon, this little taster is the beginning of what looks to be a life-long musical romance.
Viva Lost Wages by T Walmsley is available on all streaming platforms now.