Tuesday 24 May 2022

Tom Robinson, Metronome, Nottingham

The first task tonight is to find the Metronome which is a new 400 capacity venue on Huntingdon Street in Nottingham. I advertises that it is part of Nottingham Trent University's Creative Quarter Campus. Not that that obscure information helped in the slightest but I found it eventually. It’s a rather posh venue.

I’m here to see Tom Robinson celebrate his 70th birthday tour, two years late. Arriving just in time to catch the support act at 8pm I am surprised to find Tom already on stage. Had I got the timings wrong?

Apparently not. Tom is comparing the show but first plays two acoustic tracks ‘Winter Of 79’ and ‘Fifty’ aka ‘What If We Live To Be 50’ now upgraded to be ‘Eighty’ as obviously fifty is long gone. Then he gives an almost reverential introduction to tonight’s support, one he’d championed on his 6 Music show, Maddie Ashman. Who ably entertains us for another half an hour.

Then after a twenty minute interval Tom is back with his band and we’re into ‘Bully for You’.

His band are excellent. Adam Phillips is outstanding on guitar and capably backed by Lee Forsyth Griffiths, who gets to play his own track ‘Silence Is Death’ mid set.

The rest of the set includes plenty from the ‘Power In The Darkness’ album from 1978, plenty of Tom’s big hits and a cover of ‘Rikki Don't Lose That Number’ which he describes as done in a Roxy Music style that was a very minor hit for him in 1984. While ‘Martin’ is done totally a Capella and dedicated to those we lost over the last two years.  

Tom has always been a bit of a ranter about politics and the state of the country in general which given the current mess we’re in in the UK gives him plenty to rant about. Strikingly his protest songs from the 1970s remain unnervingly valid today. 

He updates some of his tracks for modern times, even the fairly recent (2015) ‘Mighty Sword Of Justice’ which now references party gate among other things and its caustic lyrics were not lost on the assembled audience. There’s non-political banter and plenty of fascinating stories too, which all add to a great evening.

He encores with ‘Only the Now’ a song which urges you to celebrate the present rather than the past or the future and then a stirring performance of ‘Power in the Darkness’ itself, a highly political song that he does wearing a Boris Johnson wig. Which maybe implies that perhaps we shouldn’t celebrate the present too much after all. 

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