Having just released his second EP fittingly enough called The Second EP, Kid Harpoon (Tom Hull to his friends) came to not so sunny Glasgow to brighten up our Tuesday night with an amazing live performance at the Barfly. Before Tom took to the stage two local singer/songwriters performed. The first – Neil Fearns – used Kid Harpoon’s guitar for his set and perhaps foolishly tempted fate by saying “I hope I don’t break a string, ’cause Tom will kill me”. Of course as fate would have it on the very last strum of his very last song he snapped a string. No deaths occurred though – that I know of anyway.
The second support was a guy called Mike but I didn’t catch his last name (but who looked a lot like Sid from Skins). It turns out Tom had invited him to play at the gig earlier in the day when he heard him covering one of his songs.
Everything seemed to be going so well then as he took to the stage Tom announced that this show would be dedicated to the two girls who had just been thrown out of the venue. Seemingly while watching the supports he had given a couple of beers to some fans and it turned out they were underage and ended up getting thrown out by the bouncers. Don’t worry about the fans however: he let them stay in his van outside until after the gig and then played a few songs for them since they missed out. (What a nice guy.)
Anyway, back to the music! Kid Harpoon and his band The Powers That Be are a very exciting musical proposition live. Throughout the nine-song set they are as tight musically as any band I’ve seen recently. Opener ‘Milkmaid’ is perfect with its stop start chorus and Tom’s short sharp vocals, while ‘Late for the Devil’ (the first song that got me into Kid Harpoon) didn’t disappoint live. Being a bit of an internet geek and reading his forum I knew that the two new songs he played – ‘Marianna’ and ‘Hold On’ – are probably going to be included on his forthcoming full length debut. ‘Hold On’ is a more band-driven number and sounds like a song that Babyshambles would wish they could write and perform live to the standard that was on display tonight.
The two highlights of the night for me were the songs played from The Second EP (probably because I’ve been listening to it non-stop). ‘Her Body Sways’ is a beautiful love song bristling with folk guitar and some out of this world piano playing. It definitely makes you want to grab hold of the person you hold dear that little bit tighter. Penultimate song ‘Riverside’ is exactly how it sounds on the EP, with fast paced guitar colliding with Tom’s knife sharp vocals. He moves effortlessly from almost snarling at times with venom at his lips to the more melodic delivery of “ooooooooooo’s”. Set closer was a cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘First We Take Manhattan’ and sounds somewhere between a pirate sea shanty and something circus-related (in a good way).
Personally I cannot wait for his debut album to be released in April which is rumoured to have the excellent title of “Maladies”. With over 200 songs to choose from, and only ‘Riverside’ appearing from previously released material it should be very interesting indeed to hear what the anchor-tattooed Kid Harpoon comes up with next.