Tom Paxton at Union Chapel
Tom Paxton has been making music for more than half a century. He has recorded more than 50 albums and performed at every famous venue in the world, from Carnegie Hall to The Royal Festival Hall. His work has been re-recorded by hundreds of famous musicians: John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Doc Brown to name a few.
Much of Paxton’s work (particularly his early material) comments the injustices and political turmoil that have occurred throughout his long and varied career. What Did You Learn in School Today mocks the lies Paxton suggests children are taught at school, and I’m Changing My Name to Chrysler lampoons the bailout of Chrysler in 1979. Paxton regularly revisits his back catalogue and rewrites the topical songs to reignite them and give them new life: I’m Changing My Name to Chrysler becomes I’m Changing My Name to Fannie Mae as a reaction to the 700 billion dollar bailout in 2008. This keeps the name of Tom Paxton alive and well as he ages, maintaining his planet-wide appeal and furthering his never-ending world tour.
The singer is currently in the UK for a short tour, tonight performing at Union Chapel in Islington. The venue is a working congregational church by day, and Time Out Readers’ Best Live Music Venue of 2012 by night. At over 100 years old with impressive acoustics to match, it’s no wonder it’s in such favour – each note and harmony reverberates perfectly around the space.
Welcomed by a warm cup of coffee, the audience settle down in the pews and await Paxton’s arrival. When he does grace the stage he does not disappoint with well timed and perfectly performed banter with the relatively mature crowd.
The first half showcases his more famous works, such as the highly enjoyable Your Shoes My Shoes, while the second half is comprised of more obscure and politically satirical songs, all performed impeccably. Between tracks Paxton reminisces about past performances in London, with a long (comic) pause as he attempts to recall the first gig he performed in the city – apparently at an old club called Bungees.
This is a polished blend of serious and comical songs, accompanied by a lot of almost choral singing from the audience during the more recognizable tunes. Tom Paxton has perfected his craft and is recognised the world over as a timeless musician. He will never be forgotten and his night at the Union Chapel is a perfect example.
Photo: Linda Thomas
For further information and future events visit Tom Paxton’s website here.
Watch a live performance of Bottle of Wine here: