It seems like he’s been around for ever, but Tom is only on album number three. And this is the first time I had seen him (apart from a tiny glimpse at Y Not in the summer). Impressive guy.
Date: October 14, 2014
Venue: The Bodega
In 2004, Thomas Timothy Vernon-Kell washed in on the ever-decreasing wave that was punk-funk as Tom Vek, a young man who sounded like he had been locked away in a bedsit in Brooklyn forging rickety experimental indie.
10 years on, and he still sounds like he records in a bedsit in Brooklyn, even though he’s actually from Hounslow.
This tour is promoting his new LP, Luck, his third in 10 years. Hardly consistent is he? But while little has changed of Vek’s approach to songwriting, or indeed in his voice, his demeanour and his aloofness, he’s still utterly compelling. At times, especially on those stompers from 2011’s Leisure Seizure, Aroused and A Chore, he demonstrates his rock side.
On the flipside to this, The Girl You Wouldn’t Leave For Any Other Girl is a bleak, lonely song, aching with sorrow as he strums a mournful guitar on his own with the title pretty much sung throughout. It’s a challenging listen to put it mildly.
Elsewhere his set consists of Lo-Fi post-Strokesian collages, from 2004 to 2014. The only thing that has changed in 10 years is Tom’s appearance. Gone is the foppish fringe, replaced by a barnet which says ‘Take me seriously’ rather than ‘Whatever dude’. He wouldn’t look out of place in a Judd Apertow movie. Geeky, glasses, middle-management type chic.
Finishing with recent single Sherman (Animals in the Jungle), he and his band produce a fizzing, psychedelic Flaming Lips-played-at-the-wrong-speed finale which drums home Vek’s intelli-pop nous superbly.