Tom Vek at the Southbank Centre
There seems to be a rise of modern-day anti-stereotypical rock acts in modern British indie, attempting to clumsily push their way into the mainstream using brands like NME as their weapons to shatter the bravado of the overly-masculine, grungy rock revelers. Today we headed down to the prestigious Southbank Centre to examine the latest contender to the alternative indie throne, a talented Londoner named Tom Vek fronting a three-piece band.
At first glance the venue seems a bit of an odd choice as, although it’s a decent size, it does resemble a cross between a cinema theatre and an old-fashioned school disco hall with clunky seats and no room for standing fans. This enclosed, seated environment might have created a rather daunting prospect for both the band and audience, as usually these features kill an atmosphere dead and give a mellower intimate feel. Luckily this potential awkwardness was soon discarded as the crowd loudly responded to every track with rowdy cheers.
The atmospheric feel of the gig was clearly an integral part of the show as the band maintained a slightly gloomy, indie hypnotic trance that flirted with synth-dance rhythms, drawing the fans in. Visually the effects also added to the haunting ambiance, as the stage lights often glowed along to the bubbling rhythm; blacking out the set between songs added to the sense of anticipation. The band matched their impressive visual show, as musically they were tight all night, conjuring an impressive sound, especially for a three-piece, as they zipped through their set using drum machines and laptop technology to make sure everything flowed cleanly. The stand-out highlight of the set was the hugely popular track Aroused as it was played to perfection with every beat soaked up by the expectant, bopping crowd.
The volume of alternative indie bands might be spiraling dangerously out of control as there is surely only so much 80s-esque guitar synth-rock the public can handle, however if it does become a Hunger Games-style battle to survive, Tom Vek has enough to win. The immense popularity of Aroused, alone, has given them a strong platform to build on and their live sound doesn’t disappoint. The only minor gripe is the strained vocal ability of Vek as at times it does stray onto the whiny side, but for a three-piece act they have some considerable clout.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information and future events visit Tom Vek’s website here.
Watch the video for Aroused here: