Thomas McConnell’s SoundCloud Set

  1. Stop in the Shade
  2. So Long Souvenirs
  3. Penelope Definitely
  4. Lonely Mr Bigshot
  5. It’s Johnny’s Birthday
  6. Got No Feet, No Wheat, No Eggs
  7. Chocolate Window

There are two things you should know before you read this review. Number one, I’m a huge fan of Mr McConnell, so this review will be unashamedly biassed. The other thing is that Tom is a huge Beatles/McCartney devotee and that influence is so clear that I’m not going to keep referring to it. Just to say that you could do worse than be influenced by giants of the music world such as Lennon and McCartney.

This 7 song SoundCloud set is a perfect introduction to Tom’s music. From the upbeat Penelope Definitely through to the melancholy of So Long Souvenirs to the craziness of Got No Feet, No Wheat, No Eggs you get a great idea of the range of this hugely talented singer songwriter from Liverpool.

I hate reviews where someone gives you a blow-by-blow account of the lyrics. I’d rather not try to interpret someone’s words and meanings because lyrics are so personal.  I will tell you that So Long Souvenirs is a beautifully melancholy piece, which gets inside your head and you find yourself humming it during quiet moments in the day.  Penelope Definitely is my favourite track of the seven, Tom’s slightly drawling, self-assured delivery belies the vulnerability in the lyric and this is the song I find myself replaying over and over.

Lonely Mr Bigshot demonstrates very strong story telling skills and paints a very whimsical image of the song’s protagonist. It’s Johnny’s Birthday is perhaps the weakest song in the set for me, a little too ponderous for my taste.

Stop In The Shade is a fabulous toe tapping experience. It’s the one I love to see live because Tom always looks like he really enjoys playing this song. This is a very obvious song for radio consumption – if I had to pick a single from this set, it would be this one.  Oh and the guitar riff in the middle of this song never fails to make me smile. Chocolate Window is more of the same with a slightly psychedelic back beat running through it.

Got No Feet, No Wheat, No Eggs – I have to confess this song is a crazy mystery to me. Its raucous anarchy is an obvious nod to the prog rock behemoths that Tom is too young to have experienced first hand but any meaning in the lyrics is lost on me in the joyous cacophony of sound that the song turns into. But anyone that uses a theremin in a song is ok with me – Sheldon would be proud.

Tom plays all the instruments and wrote all the songs in this set, his prodigious talent is evident. A very accomplished guitar player who is also a gifted keyboard player. At 19 years old and based in the music capital of the world, he can only have a huge future ahead of him.

Have a listen to the SoundCloud set here.  You can also follow Tom and find out where you can see him live via his Facebook page.

Chief Seattle – my newest favourite band

One of the things I love most about living in Liverpool is the abundance of live music in this city.  The sheer volume of gigs going on at any one time is amazing, and I defy anyone not to be able to find at least one gig a month to go to. Obviously having the musical heritage that we do, it’s inevitable that we have a plethora of tribute acts and you can always find someone singing “Please Please Me” somewhere (usually The Cavern Club on a Saturday afternoon). But it’s the new bands and singers that are the life blood of the city.

We have something in Liverpool called Monday Club – it’s run by Amsterdam front man Ian Prowse and it’s a haven for original music and creativity in the Cavern Pub (not the Club – easy mistake to make!!).  The rules of Monday Club are simple – 3 songs, no covers. Every week we are treated to 3 hours of amazing original songs by a huge variety of artists – we’ve had everything – punk, folk music, europop and good old rock and roll! We’ve also had poetry and comedians (they get 15 minutes!).

A few months ago I heard Alister from the band Chief Seattle singing at Monday Club. What struck me most was Alister’s voice – soaring vocals and intense lyrics. This was the first time I heard Butterfly.  It stuck in my head and just sat quietly in the corner, singing to itself.  Then a month or so ago I had the chance to see the full incarnation of Chief Seattle. I went along to the Ship and Mitre on Dale Street and was completely blown away.  Butterfly is now singing very loudly in my head, at every opportunity!

Then Chief Seattle started hosting an open mic night at the Liffey bar, on Wednesdays (so glad it doesn’t clash with Monday Club!).  Wednesdays in the Liffey are a joy – the rules aren’t as strict as Monday Club so we get to hear covers, but we also get some great original music. Zinney from Sonnenberg this week was wonderful, one of my favourite singer songwriters Thomas McConnell was there last week and is also a stalwart of Monday Club. On top of all that we get two sets by Chief Seattle – you can’t really argue with that.

So to the reason for my post (you knew I’d get there eventually!) – this week saw the launch of the video for Butterfly and I want you to see it. I want you to sit in a dark room and absorb it. It’s truly beautiful and everyone should have Butterfly in their head. Here’s the link to the video on YouTube. Watch it. Now!

Butterfly by Chief Seattle

“Let’s celebrate the sound and the rhythm……”