The last leg of “The Long Way Home: Chris Tavener and Thom Morecroft”

There is something rather special about going to see gigs in winter time, you find your nicest winter clothes, you put a scarf and some gloves on and you make your way to the venue in full frontal view of the evening sky. You can see your own breath and think about warming yourself up over a nice pint, listening to some folky tunes and escaping the havoc thoughts about Christmas shopping. There is something strangely nostalgic about it, yet every year the first gig of the winter season is exciting, romantic and you want to bottle up the feeling and sell it on ebay.

My first gig of the winter season was Chris Tavener and Thom Morecroft, at The Castle Hotel in the back end of the Northern Quarter in Manchester. As soon as you step inside the bar, the only thing that reminds you that you haven’t travelled back in time to the time of Dickens is the reminder that you can pay with contactless (something that I try and avoid at all times). There is a welcome that radiates from this small bar and the room which the gig was in, small without being cramped and had a comforting atmosphere, like you were about to watch a gig in your front room. Many of the audience members were sitting on the floor, glasses of wine in hand as the first support act Kieran Taylor graced the stage playing a mixture of covers and originals. Kieran sang with a Mancunian twang that was familiar, with originals that you were sure that you had heard before, which was enjoyable somewhat wistful. Kieran finished his set with a folk song that set up the scene for Thom and Chris perfectly, giving the audience a clue to what the rest of the evening had in store.

As Kieran finished, it was time to grab another drink and have a good nose around to see what the rest of the audience was thinking. It was full of faces of all different ages, smiling shyly at one another looking very relaxed by the music and the atmosphere. Chris introduced Thom and alluded to his musical talents which were apparent within the first few chords that he began to play. Thom combinines intricate folk guitar with poetic melodies, and his confidence as a performer puts the audience at ease to enjoy a fresh yet nostalgic take on folk music. In particular the songs “Pride Hill” and “Coming Up For Air” were breathtaking, displaying an effortless talent at playing the guitar displaying a range of vocals and emotions in his voice which is difficult to truly find in the new age which technology has brought us.

This was the last night of Chris and Thom’s “The Long Way Home” tour and as Thom finished his set the sense of a good thing coming to an end was palpable, but the respect and true admiration which both of these artists have for each other was recognised by the audience by the toungue and cheek conversations that they were having before Chris started to perform (particularly the story about when Chris was staying with a bunch of cats in Newcastle) ((I guess you had to be there)).

Chris has played more than 350 shows in 2017, and his commiment to live performance is matched by his showmanship. Practised yet effortless, his songs combine two completely different elements which are a match made in heaven. Satirical, ironic and marvellous lyrics against the backdrop of ecletic guitar playing. Songs about falling in love when drunk (a subject that I have expertise on Chris, if you ever want to duet) and Harry Styles (another subject that I am on an expert on) were relatable, witty yet whimsical, taking the audience on a journey down memory lane when you first turn eighteen and are getting pissed on apple sourz.

All in all, my first gig of the winter season was an absolute success, I left with my cheeks hurting from smiling so much and my head slightly fuzzy from G+T’s. If you get a chance to catch either Thom or Chris, then you won’t be disappointed.

All the love

Ave x

Chris’s Tavener Twitter —

Chris Tavener Facebook —

Thom Morecroft Twitter —

Thom Morecroft Facebook —

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