Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Tom Waits Live

Tom Waits, Hammersmith Apollo, London: "...Most rock fans are familiar with Waits' voice - a deep, phlegmatic bark that manages to effectively convey emotion during a ballad such as November while only keeping a fleeting acquaintance with anything approaching a tune - but there is still something genuinely startling about hearing it in person. Even more startling is his recently acquired habit of providing his own 'vocal percussion' during songs, by grunting, whooping, and making guttural retching noises. Live, amplified to deafening volume, and accompanied by a series of fantastic gesticulations, the effect is alternately hilarious and profoundly distressing.

He introduces the songs with a string of weirdly entrancing non-sequiturs, delivered in the oily whine of a fairground barker...."