Friday, June 15, 2007

Flying by the Seat of Your Pants

Tom McRae
Tom McRae
OK, time to take a risk. I email into the Microblog all the time, but this will be a first. A real time, main blog entry without the benefit of a spel chicker*. So with apologies to those who spent several years trying to teach me the intricacies of my native tongue, here goes...

At the start of writing this it's coming up to 9:30PM on a Friday night, and for once I'm neither rat-arsed, nor in the Village. It's another night of culture at its best, and for once there is not a trace of sarcasm in that statement. Instead of being up in the good seats like Tuesday's trip to the Globe, I'm down in the good standing area on the ground floor of the Shepherds Bush Empire. Everyone is waiting for the arrival of one Tom McRae on stage. Not exactly a household name? No, but when you look at the success other British male singer songwriters have had it should be. He's got the talent, the voice, and even on-stage personality in spades without a trace of the tertiary twatism that so often goes hand-in-hand with it.

One tribute was the warm-up act, Steve Reynolds, who I think may have had a little more airplay of late since McRae's early impact and acclaim for his debut album, but played a great supporting role tonight, as did 'when will they stop using Brighter than Sunshine for musical highlights on the BBC' Aqualung the last time I saw McRae play live.

If you've never heard of him before I'd go have a listen, especially if he's playing live in a town near you - the studio stuff on iTunes doesn't quite do him justice, it's not overproduced or anything, just a bit sterile compared to the same songs played live, and there were a couple of great covers that didn't make the cut on the CDs I bought. His version of Oh Yeah! (On the radio) is fantastic, and La Nuit Je Mens (a cover of the Alain Bashung - I had to look him up too - song) is a classic even if I can't come up with a nice idiomatic translation of the line about trying to pull a Moray eel from the French.

Talent and superstardom are increasingly differing qualities as programmes like 'popsearchforamastericeskateronhorsebackstar', from ITV, C4 and the 'we tax you for quality's sake' BBC alike, show. I just hope he enjoys performing as much as he seems to, because its fantastic being in the audience when he plays.

*Update Saturday, 8:30PM: Following a challenge by an antipodean friend at the Base Camp I should state that this was not meant to be a dig at New Zealand English. Every idiot knows the that correct Kiwi for this software facility is 'Spill Chucker'. I can't wait to see Crus Jeck playing for Saracens next season so I've been brushing up on these matters.

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