Published on November 20th, 2013 | by Ben Adsett1
Chris T-T and Emily Barker, 19/11/13, Glee Club,Birmingham
I have been lucky enough to follow Chris T-T and his unique take on the singer songwriter genre for years and have seen him play live numerous times. I can definitely map last night as one of the strangest shows I have ever attended, and most definitely the strangest Chris T-T show I have been to.
Maybe as a music lover with a thirst for the next big thing and the underground scene, I have spoilt myself with the atmosphere I associate with standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow music lovers as close to the stage as I fancy. Maybe there is also something in the enjoyment of catching the eye of a fellow audience member as you sing/mumble along to a live version of your favourite song by the guy/gal on the stage. This show had absolutely none of that as we entered a room to find lines of seats filled with quiet conversation.
The positives of a quiet seated audience did save me complaining about my pet hates; people talking at acoustic shows, standing in my way or using mobile phones, leaving the plus and negative columns almost equal. It was quite nice to stand at the back of a room and have an unrestricted view of the stage too. I know what you are thinking, who fucking cares about the venue, what about the show?
As soon as Emily Barker introduced Chris and he stepped onto the stage alone and walked over to the piano I knew this was going to be a special show. Chris’ ability to strip down some of the songs from his new album The Bear, and combine them with snippets from previous effort ‘Love is Not Rescue’ and his children friendly selection of A.A Milne’s poems, created an intimate forty minutes.
There is something compelling about the way Chris performs and the way each and every note or word expresses emotion and a pathway into the inner workings of his mind. During these emotive moments there are incredibly clever observations on the state of modern society, religion, relationships and life in general, at no point do these observations ever impose themselves on an audience instead they plant a thought. Buried amongst every moment of beauty or empathy you feel as a result of this song writing is a darkness and an intense look into the on looking crowd. It is these moments I found myself stopping and staring towards the stage thinking Mr. T-T you are an incredible performer and most certainly deserve to be playing to huge audiences.
Unlike almost every other person in the room I was there to watch Chris and after seeing such an incredible live set (which has caused ‘The Bear’ to be on repeat in my ears all day), Emily Barker had lots to live up to. In the kindest possible way she didn’t do it for me, I can see the appeal in her music as it was all pretty and precise but for me she lacked the edge I look for in a songwriter. Let’s be honest, in a room full of people if there is one reviewer that doesn’t love your work it’s almost certain he’s wrong!