Friday, 28 March 2014

Tom Hingley (ex-Inspiral Carpets) live at The Railway Hotel Southend-on-Sea March 22nd by Mark Lancaster

Tom Hingley at The Railway, Southend - Photo by Mark Lancaster
In my opinion Inspiral Carpets were the best of the bands to come out of, what the music press dubbed (somewhat incorrectly), as Madchester. For starters the band hailed from, in the main, Oldham. They produced a string of excellent singles in the late 80’s/early 90’s and even had one of their songs ‘I Want You’ reworked for the BBC Saturday morning children’s show ‘The 8.15 from Manchester’. Part of their success was no doubt down to Tom Hingley’s excellent vocals. Whereas Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses were bands where the vocalist couldn’t sing for toffee, the Inspirals had a really good singer in Tom (who is, fact fans, actually from Oxfordshire, which is not a suburb of Manchester). Tom, who must be one of the hardest gigging acts in the UK, returned for his third visit to Southend-on-Sea’s premier music venue The Railway Hotel (home of many Retroman/Podrophenia projects) since last August, so it is obviously a venue he enjoys playing. A decent sized audience settled down for a free (yes free!) gig on a Saturday afternoon. 

Photo by Mark Lancaster
Tom’s acoustic set started off with a reworking of the Inspiral’s 1993 Top 20 hit ‘Saturn 5’. The song, which on this solo version has slowed down considerably, shows off Tom’s excellent vocals and took on an almost torch-song quality. This was swiftly followed by two other Inspiral’s favourites ‘She Comes In The Fall’ and ‘Dragging Me Down’. We then had a five minute break because Tom had to pop outside and feed the parking meter before taking to the stage to continue with the gig. Rock and Roll eh? 

What is also evident is that Tom is an excellent guitarist. Playing an acoustic guitar which looked like it had been round the block a few times he, in the words of one Railway punter, “made it sing”. His Bottle-Neck Blues playing is right up there with the best of them and the sounds he gets from his guitar without the use of pedals is fantastic. My highlights of the gig were ‘Good’ from his 2009 ‘Thames Valley Delta Blues’ album, an a cappella version of Janis Joplin’s ‘Mercedes Benz’ with added audience hand claps and a great version of the James classic ‘Sit Down’ which segued into Erma Franklin’s ‘Another Piece Of My Heart’. Tom then cemented his ‘hardest working man on the circuit’ credentials by heading off to Gillingham in Kent for his second gig of the day straight after his set. I am already looking forward to the next time Mr Hingley returns to Southend for an afternoon of great music. Tom is also playing at the 100 Club in London’s Oxford Street with his Tom Hingley Band project on 16th April. They play, what has been described as “Electric Dirty Blues”. Now that sounds like a gig to go to!

Tom Hingley - Photo by Mark Lancaster
Review and Photographs copyright Mark Lancaster 2014. 

With many thanks to Mark for contributing the great review. You can check out Tom's up to date news at The Tom Hingley Official Facebook page and pre-order tickets for the 100 Club gig here.

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