The Prickle (@ThePrickle) October 20, 2017
It’s midnight and the youthful audience pouring into London’s most iconic jazz establishment is the metaphorical equal of the way Tom Misch is filling his jazz-informed music with exuberant swagger.
Tomorrow a few thousand will see him and the band at Printworks but tonight it’s a few hundred at Ronnie Scott’s. Far from being a contradiction of size, this speaks to the musicality and instrumental integrity of his music and collaborators. One such collaborator leads the set off: Tobie Tripp’s violin and loop/delay pedals are an increasing feature of the live soundscapes built with Tom’s delicate Fender lines, lending something ethereal to the sound-beds that are created prior to the drop. This initiates the chilled momentum of a set which switches easily between instrumental and vocal numbers, all with the very clear, very audible hand of the producer at the front of the stage.
In what is a friendly —albeit legendary— environment, the crowd are rewarded further with the most well-known tracks (like ‘South of the River’ which provokes a very respectful sing-along) sitting along some new. ‘Tick Tock’ utilises a ticking clock as a sample before moving into a straight 4 beat that is typical of Tom Misch’s funky understatement. The Beat Tape producer is of course steeped in the jazz that has percolated for decades through Ronnie Scott’s — these worlds of beat making collide most obviously when his sister (Laura Misch) takes the stage to add some saxophone solos to ‘Follow’. Guests continue to inflect the set as serial collaborator Carmody joins for ‘Release You’ and saxophonist Kaidi Akinnibi making an appearance later on too (both participants in his recent Mischon recording project).
It’s so great to be in Ronnie’s and see people dancing, and not just ticket-holders: on more than one occasion it’s one of the venue’s red-braced staff who’s grooving their way across the floor. Kudos to Team Misch and Ronnie’s for pulling this off — it would have been easy to sell out Printworks and leave it at that. This was a step into a more vulnerable venue where you can’t hide behind a crowd or a massive sound system and it more than delivered. Some sultry Stevie Wonder (‘Isn’t She Lovely’) and some J Dilla-inspired deep grooves late in the set help to further contextualise where Tom Misch is coming from. Where’s he going? Only Tom will tell.
There is a Tom Misch album coming soon. In the meantime, swim through the rich content available on his YouTube channel here.