Tom Misch: Geography Album Launch at Kingston Hippodrome
Kingston is an absolute Mischon to travel to but refreshingly local for Tom and his band’s homecoming gig, straight off the plane from their first tour around Europe and North America.
It’s no secret that Tom Misch is a dyed in the wool South Londoner, encapsulated in his biggest tune of the moment where he instructs the listener to “come South of the River, this is where it all starts”. Owing to this, Kingston’s Hippodrome was the perfect setting for the launch of his formal debut album Geography, which dropped at midnight the night after the gig.
The launch was also laid on by his local record label, Banquet Records, meaning that the ticket included an LP Vinyl (£20 bundle) or a CD (£12). This is comparatively small for high flying Misch (tickets for his Brixton gig in November going for as much as £60 online). The album was also personally posted to you on the night of the launch, which gave the whole event a cute feel to it.
I say ‘formal debut album’ because this hotly anticipated disc is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vault of beat tapes and experimental collaborations Misch has already tossed his loyal fan base. I have certainly been a heavy fanboy of his since he released ‘Dilla Love’, a homage to his idol, on my most listened to shower playlist - Beat Tape 1. It earned approval from Dilla's mother, Maureen Yancey, so you know it’s good.
The Hippo was packed out from sticky floor to dusty lighting rig with everyone gathered around the balconies like an amphitheatre, out to catch a glimpse. The chilled choons reverberating around the 60s arena wouldn't be enough, they needed to also see Misch’s infamous head-bob-groove. It hadn’t been this busy since Dizzee Rascal also chose this venue to drop Raskit last summer (also available on cassette).
The only security seemed to be Misch’s mates, all repping the ‘just back from boom town’ baggy/bucket hat look - they sold the tix and the merch. The stall featured the new cosmic album cover sweatshirt and a plain white tee with the Tyskie logo replaced by TOM MISCH. I'm not sure what the copyright laws are on that, but I like it. I’d have Desperado T-shirts with Desperate on. “I usually buy a t-shirt cause that’s where they make their money” said a random teenager as they walked in.
I went on a search for further vox’s with my tape recorder, a gonzo journalist in the wild. I managed to spot the Misch rents just before the support act began. They were the only couple I could spot, through the bluey mist, over the age of 30.
Mama Misch: “It’s good to see him with a captive live audience. For years he used to come home and go straight up to his bedroom to make music, but the real magic is obviously hearing it live. That’s why we had to be here tonight”.
Papa Misch: “I’m also a big fan of FKJ and I’ve heard he might be here tonight”.
FKJ didn’t turn up but Carmody was there – long term friend and collaborator of Misch and also from south of the river. I’d recommend listening to ‘Atmosphere’ or ‘Wander With Me’. She gave an intense solo performance, only accompanied by her snapbacked, beat merchant. I can only describe him as a young Skrillex, twisting his mixing decks and synths like a submarine driver. Carmody warmed up the stage beautifully, providing her (already full) crowd with a set of chilled vibes, the kind you may expect to hear as soundtrack to a drone movie named ‘summer memories’.
Following this, the stage was rejigged, the upstairs and mazing corridors of the locally named ‘hippo’ were opened to the public and the lights dimmed down low. Misch and his band jumped onstage, still with a very unsettled crowd. Everyone ran around the hippo to find the most cotch viewing spot throughout the first few songs. He began with ‘The Journey,’ another from Beat Tape 1. Starting off with just him and the melodic guitar tune, this built excitement in the room. Other instruments were then added, slowly stoking the crowd.
Misch reacted in surprise to the built euphoria. He had only returned from his first giging tour, with all 8 gigs of the UK leg sold out. The response he received is one he should get used to, the word is certainly spreading about Misch music. Following on from this, Misch played exactly what the crowds ears ordered with his originals ‘I Wish’ and ‘Man Like You’.
The stage was set up in reminiscent style to his new album’s cover; stars stuck onto the black draping sheet with he and his band in a warm purple silhouette for most of the night. He then performed his cover of ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ - rarely do I find someone cover Stevie Wonder and actually do it justice. Misch, you’ve achieved this. Take a classic, don't change it up too much and let the funky bass line flow. By doing this, his guitar ability was able to take centre stage, captivating the room. His decision to let his guitar sing the melody alone allowed the crowd to fully get behind the song, all singing at the top of their lungs. Moments like this are what stick in the mind of crowds.
Eshu Akinnibi provided the soaring sax line in ‘Movie’. For this song, the room darkened to bring attention to the side lights. This along with a ticking noise gave the desired effect of old film reel. Laura, Misch’s Sister, usually does this part but she had to play her own intimate jazz sax session at the Albert Hall instead. The Misch gene pool were doing well in the big city that night. Polly Misch still joined her brother onstage, truly making this a family affair, she provided him with spoken word and harmony in a hat. Even Carol Misch is accredited in most of his music videos as doing the make-up, as well as designing the new album artwork.
The biggest challenge for Misch has been to transfer his beat tape style to the stage. It’s like asking a rapper to perform with a live band every gig. The biggest success story for this being The Mouse Outfit. Maybe he should holla at them for advice, he really doesn’t need it though. Misch takes it back to basics with his 6-piece band and they are clearly all on the same page, he has written for them with no qualms.
He then played ‘Waterbaby’ and ‘Crazy Dream’ but there was no appearance from Loyle Carner. It’s refreshing to see Misch have his own show; to just hear his unique style, artfully merging jazz, hip hop, funk, soul, and now disco too, exhibited by his new collaboration with Poppy Ajudah - ‘Disco Yes’ (we managed to pick up an exclusive with Poppy last summer). Tom Misch provided us with a smorgasbord of released and unreleased songs throughout the evening and it genuinely looked like he was just jamming with friends some of the time.
An electric evening to remember, a truly special intimate jam before Tom hits the dizzying heights. It really comes across that Tom Misch is a DJ in his spare time too. This evening really consolidated the view that his new album has dancier grooves than ever before. His main Mischeon is to make people dance – just dance.