It’s been almost seven years since 16 year old Tom Misch started producing beats in the safety of his London home. Now with nearly 3 million monthly Spotify streams, 200k SoundCloud followers, and a top 10 charting album in the UK to his name, the 22 year old English producer/singer is unquestionably thriving in the public eye. Misch’s recent success in the UK is has quickly bled onto the global stage while his market demand for an international tour became a borderline necessity in the wake of the new year. His trip to The Royale Nightclub in Boston this past Wednesday, May 2nd verified his transcontinental venture as a resounding success, as his first time in the city proved to be one of the most impactful concerts of the year thus far.
Before Misch took the stage however, the audience was in for an unexpected treat. Gabriel Garzón-Montano, considered by many to have one of the most overlooked and underrated neo-singer/songwriter albums of 2017, graced The Royale with a trial period of his three-man performing crew. Garzón-Montano was quick to point out that his previous shows have all been a been supported merely by a backing drummer, but that this new pluralized multi-instrumentalist support prevented the concert from being diluted into what he called “glorified karaoke.”
All in all, he was right to change his setup. The trio’s sound was obscure yet fantastically refined – you could clearly tell they were all talented producers, although it was a style of live music that Garzón-Montano would have truthfully struggled to replicate in a venue with lower quality sound engineering and equipment. Either way, his obvious influences from a Prince-esque vocal style and complimentary stage presence exuded an underground star-like demeanor that radiated confidence. His only flaw derived from that same confidence however, as he continually pushed an overly demanding and expectant behavior of the crowd’s actions as if to command a group of elementary school children as a obsessive teacher. It’s alright to tell the crowd to do something, but if they aren’t understanding your request, just let it go.
Even so, Garzón-Montano still found a way to remain respectful once he made his transition to Tom Misch. Garzón-Montano suddenly became both outwardly courteous and inwardly humbling just before the end of his set when he proclaimed “You ready for Tom Misch?! How about that brand new record he just put out? That beautiful record is number 8 in the UK right now. I mean seriously, I’m not number shit, so…”
Tom Misch’s progression from a bedroom beat-making cloister to one of 2018’s most recognizable faces in the world of self-produced albums couldn’t have been made more obvious by his overwhelmingly positive reception from a crowd packed wall to wall. I’ve sincerely never seen this venue as packed as it was for Misch’s set, and for good reason – Misch was originally scheduled to play at Boston’s smaller venue “The Sinclair,” but the location was forcibly changed due to overwhelming ticket demand. While I was hoping and praying that the largely self-made producer would supplement his performance with a backing guitarist and/or percussionist, I was both shocked and elated that he brought along a whopping five band member (drums, guitar, bass, piano, and saxophone) to support his set. Without even playing a single note, it was obvious that this show was bound to be something special.
Tom Misch began with an extensively philosophical quote of modern persistence, the narrator of which repetitively asserting that “art is a miracle of society.” From that moment on, Misch and his supporting cast took every chance they could get to legitimize their own little miracle. Song after song, they threw in improvisational digressions that kept the set fresh and the crowd on their toes. Each track was recognizable from a studio sense, yet singularly avante-garde in its innovative twists and turns. Every band member from the guitarist, to the bassist, to the drummer, and so on had an opportunity for one or more solos at some point or another, and almost none of it seemed planned. Most impressive of all was Misch’s supporting saxophonist Braxton Cook, an NYC master of the brass who was propped up in Misch’s main supporting role as a front-runner of the set’s powerfully jazzy overtones. The amount of times I found myself uncontrollably smiling while watching this coalition bounce off of each other’s creativity in a display of funky fun was almost embarrassing, and I mean that in the most endearing of ways.
Check out the playlist below for a snippet of some of my favorite songs from Gabriel Garzón-Montano, as well as the entire live setlist that Tom Misch played during his trip to The Royale.
Favorite Live Tracks: Colours of Freedom, Movie, The Journey, Watch Me Dance, Water Baby,