26th June | Harbourside
Featured image: Alesha Hickmans
A show like this has been waiting for Tom Misch for almost too long. He has established a cult following thanks to his signature trip-hop sound, fed into years of Soundcloud tracks that upped the ante every time. His debut album, Geography makes use of beautiful samples to create a string of simple-yet-effective instrumentals. Yet it was Misch’s warm vocals that made many of those songs shine.
Breaking through the clouds, Tom Misch jogged onstage breezily, followed by a joyous cheer. He began with ‘It Runs Through Me’, setting a bright scene for the set ahead, even though the sun had retreated. Excited murmurs rippled through, ranging from fans generally gushing to people talking of his Tiny Desk concert. But don’t for a second think all eyes weren’t on Tom Misch.
‘I Wish’ was the kind of slow funk number that made the young audience sway in unison as if in some kind of fever dream. His honeyed voice clearly cut through the haze of his dreamlike backing band, serving as the perfect tonic on a humid summer evening. The Amphitheatre was the perfect place for Misch to spread his wings and allow his free-spirited public to unleash their moves.
It didn’t take much to become intoxicated by his music. Misch has his own distinct style he carried through ‘Tick Tock’ and ‘Day 4: Everybody Get Down’ effortlessly. Arguably he is single-handedly bringing jazz back into the 21st Century, adding modern touches here and there of disco in ‘Disco Yes’ and hip-hop in ‘Water Baby’.
Alternative Press recently reported that OutKast are unrecognisable to people under the age of twenty. Well, if this night was anything to go by, with Misch’s cover of the rap duo’s track ‘Prototype’ he may have proved them wrong.
It was the stream of heartfelt coos serenading, “I think I’m in love again” that was more than enough to win everyone over. It may not have been one of the most active moments of the performance, but it definitely resonated with an audience that was full to the brim with teens.
The key point that prompted loud screams, frenzied hugs and jumps was when Loyle Carner appeared onstage for a surprise appearance for ‘Water Baby’ and ‘Crazy Dream’. All the girls were happy and the guys were rapping, together Carner and Misch were a force to be reckoned with. Not to say Misch couldn’t do it alone. He continued to prick our interest during ‘Colours of Freedom’, a funk-flecked party that was every bit as free as its name.
The thing that draws such a mass appeal for Tom Misch is his ability to meld genres so easily. This gives him no trouble fitting in, whether it be on his sold-out US tour, the Instagram theme park vibes of Coachella or the edge of the Bristol harbour.
Clocking in 90 minutes of dulcet jazz grooves, he demonstrated his keen ear for straightforward arrangements that teeter across the thin line of making you feel calm and celebratory. The comfortably numbing quality of Misch’s set provided an idyllic escapism from everyday life. Tonight showed us the poster boy of jazz-funk at his giddy peak.
See the video for ‘Water Baby (ft. Loyle Carner) here: