On a Tuesday night, August 6, Tom Walker rocked the Rough Trade in Brooklyn with a packed crowd.
The BRIT winner has come out with a bang as his debut album ‘What A Time To Be Alive,’ released earlier this year, topped charts, with hit singles like his uplifting ‘Leave a Light On’ and heart-melting ode to his fiancé ‘Just You and I.’ The title for the album itself comes from one of Tom’s songs ‘Blessings,’ a song that permeates hope and optimism, much like Walker himself. The title ‘What A Time To Be Alive,’ shares the same hopeful attitude of his songs in a time of crisis, political or otherwise, an album guaranteed to lift the spirits and put a smile on your face.
Craig Stickland opened and warmed up the crowd with his soulful ballads and lengthy guitar riffs. His voice, like whiskey, is smooth and sensual with a smoky rasp and swagger to make Keith Richards envious. His most recent release, ‘Break Every Rule,’ would melt even the coldest of hearts with his romantic and thoughtful lyrics combined with his expressive voice and high notes that could cut glass. The crowd was silenced when he broke into his most popular songs ‘Rolling River’ and ‘Warning,’ a song about, in Stickland’s own words, “when you are in a relationship but ignore all the warning signs because the sex is so good.” His cheeky attitude and robust howl won over the crowd easily.
Walker took to the stage accompanied by his band, a bassist, piano player, and a rather impressive drummer. Opening with the powerful and celestial ‘Angels,’ the crowd was in awe of his powerfully unexpected voice. Greeting the crowd and saying his thanks for the fans coming out even though it was “school night.” Midway through the performance, Walker changed tactics and went solo for one of his more morose pieces “Fade Away,” a song about the heartbreak he felt when splitting from his girlfriend at 19. The orchestral music with punctuated piano combined with him howling his relatable lyrics brought a tear to the eye.
However, Walker had moved on as he gushes about his fiancé, “whenever I tell her she’s perfect, she’s always like, ‘Nah nobody’s perfect!’ and that is why she is perfect. She’s mint!” He then broke into the song “You and I” with a broad grin as he sang about the love of his life. Ed Sheeran now has some competition for wedding songs as this song has already become a wedding staple as it hit no. 3 in the UK Singles Chart.
After his set was over, the crowd begged and shouted for one more song. A few minutes later Walker walked back on and performed the song that shot him to fame, ‘Leave A Light On,’ complete with an impressive drum solo and light show. The young 26-year-old has already made an impact on the world with his songs and uplifting, reassuring spirit. With a banging first album, Walker is just getting started. Be sure to catch this stellar performer live as he goes on tour.