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Live review: Tom Misch @ O2 Apollo, Manchester, 14/11/2018

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The 23-year-old musician took to the 3,500 capacity venue like a duck to water on Wednesday night; playing everything from Beat Tape 2 to his latest endeavourGeography. 

Image credit: Charlie Cummings

Opening the night was Yussef Dayes, a percussionist accompanied by a bass and keys. Prior to going solo, Yussef made up half of Yussef Kamaal, a jazz instrumental duo. Dayes' performance on Wednesday night didn't differ too much from his previous work, letting us in on the fact their set in the Apollo was totally improvised. With nothing but a core progression that they worked around, the bass and keys players were constantly checking back to Yussef for cues on where to go next.

Dayes has an unbelievable rhythm and ear for making music and putting on such a captivating performance, you couldn’t help but stand, stare and listen for what he’d do next. Despite there being no vocals, he kept the crowd intrigued and as soon as he felt them slip away he brought them right back with a killer beat. There couldn’t have been a better support for Tom Misch. 

Everyone knows that when the smoke machine comes on and the lights go down that it's time. On ran Tom Misch’s band; violinist/guitarist at the front left, percussions at the back left, keys at centre back, drums at the back far right, bass at the front right, saxophonist by his side and a lovely centre spot for Misch. Hurrying on and picking up his guitar, Tom and his band wasted no time going straight into album opener, ‘Before Paris (Intro)’.

Tom and his band managed to make every track flow into the next, there were never silence pauses nor were there moments that needed speeches from Misch. The whole night was a perfect example of music speaking for itself. You could see Misch and his band having a party on stage, vibing off the crowd and vice versa; we didn’t need reassurance from him in between each track that it meant a lot to him, we could see it did. 

Flicking from ‘It Runs Through Me’ from Geography, to ‘I Wish’ from his 2016 EP Reverie, it was funky grooves after another, that was until ‘Disco Yes’. This could quite possibly have been everyone’s favourite moment of the night, the bouncy introduction earned a roar from the audience and looking down onto those who were standing, it was a sea of dancing and pure ecstasy. As the chorus began, a disco ball lowered sending everyone even wilder. Who'd have thought such a simple asset would be so impressive? Tom was live in technicolour, the stage was glowing in colourful strip lighting and the dazzling disco ball really kick-started the party.

Tom teased throughout his set, playing introductions to certain tracks and swerving at the last minute to play something else. Not that it disappointed us, because we knew we’d hear it soon. ‘Water Baby’ sparked some excitement which grew louder and louder as Misch and his band mixed it into ‘Crazy Dream’.

Just as we began to think the night was coming to a close, ‘Beautiful Escape’ filled our ears, a classic, well-adored track. Zak Abel, who features on the track, ran out onto the stage, grabbing the reigns from Tom for a few minutes. “We have one more song for you”, said Tom, smiling because he knew we knew that isn’t true. ‘South Of The River’ could easily be the set closer but it would leave us wanting more, which it did.

Encore tracks, ‘Lost in Paris’ and ‘Watch Me Dance’ illuminated the stage once again, by now everyone who was seated was on their feet. Tom and his band grooved until the very last note, his signature hand gestures and head bops still going strong as he wrapped up his hour and a half set with a photo with the crowd, capturing an iconic memory at the O2 Apollo.

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