Tor Miller at Servant Jazz Quarters
Tucked away on a side street off Dalston’s Kingsland High Street, New York singer/songwriter Tor Miller romances an intimate crowd in the cosy Servant Jazz Quarters – a single black piano adorning the stage, a hushed crowd waiting patiently, sitting cross-legged on the floor.
When Miller comes to the stage, he does so in an equally innocuous fashion: sitting down at the piano, welcoming the crowd with a smile and a “hi”. There’s a nervous charm about him, but you can’t mistake his manner as nonchalance. He tinkles the keys and then bursts out with a rousing voice that leaps beyond anything you’d expect from listening to him on record.
Miller’s singing and piano playing is faultless, and Now And Again showcases everything that is brilliant about him: verses that paint a vivid image of New York City for the heartbroken, and choruses that are perfect for stirring from within that unspeakably longing emotion we’ve all felt at some point.
Three songs into the set and it’s clear Miller’s early nerves have settled. He humbly tells us that this is only his second sell-out gig, after playing for eight years – mainly to bartenders in empty bars. Still plinking on his piano’s keys, almost a crutch when onstage, Miller introduces his personal stand-out track on his forthcoming album, Baby Blue. It’s easy to see why he chose this as his favourite. A beautiful song capped off with an accapella middle-eight, the joy Tor gets from playing it infects the crowd, and from here he comes into his own.
His stage presence grows throughout and he cheekily engages with the crowd. Claiming that if all goes well with the album and touring, this next song – Always – is going to be one of those we’ll get sick of hearing. Thankfully, the chorus isn’t as sickly as you’d think, but it will definitely get picked up onto most radio playlists for this summer – deservedly so.
In all, Miller is on stage for 45 minutes. A relatively short gig, but this works in his favour as there’s no filler. A testament to his songwriting ability, perhaps. Either way you’re left wanting more, of both his tantalising music and onstage witticisms that come close to observational comedy. He’s back in London in a week or two – be sure to catch him.
For further information about Tor Miller and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Midnight here: