Todd at Jazz Cafe, London, Tuesday 4th Oct.

Review by ND Michaelson (Switch to

What an odd choice of venue (Toddly enough) considering last time out in London (Feb 2010) it was the Hammersmith Apollo , or Odeon as those of my generation will probably still refer to it. Nevertheless it was great to see Todd and the band (the 'Liars' line-up) in such intimate surroundings. The set list was as for the Manchester show (as previously reviewed by John Hughes) covering virtually all of Todd's career with material from 'Something...' up to one from 'TR's Johnson' and, as Todd made a point of saying, the material was selected to be what we would have chosen had they taken requests, "which we don't". Now we all know he is 'AWATS' but a collective mind-reader too ?  Well on this evidence perhaps so. It was a very popular set of songs with the audience although I'd imagine everyone could pick out some personal favourites that were missing. Mine would include 'The last ride', 'Just one victory', 'Secret society'  and  'Truth' but relatively rarities such as 'Determination', 'Lucky Guy', 'Drive', and 'Espresso' were very welcome.

Todd and the band seemed to be in fine humour saying that they were enjoying their stay in London, had actually walked to the gig and would play there indefinitely, to which one wag replied that it would bankrupt him -  not clear if he meant himself or Todd. In terms of the performance I would have to say that the louder material (which bookended the mellower, sit-down stuff) was at times both distorted and apparently causing the band monitor problems, detracting somewhat from the otherwise excellent 'Courage' in particular. I would attribute this to the smallness of the venue. Todd made references to the fact that English audiences seemed especially sensitive to how little he played guitar in this show and indeed, although I didn't count, it can't have been for more than about 6 songs which given his virtuosity and with no disrespect to Jesse Gress is a shame. Obviously then the focus was on Todd the vocalist (an area in which I believe he is very under-rated) and as he got warmed-up his voice got better and better through the course of the show. The band are great, but if you're reading this you'd expect no less...Kas and Prairie make a superb rhythm section.

Somehow Todd seems to be defying the years, looking in fine shape and giving it plenty in terms of performance. With a back catalogue of such richness you'd have to be there all night to get all of the best in (and I'm sure many would happily do so) but this was an excellent 'Best of Todd' show. He is truly in a class of his own, but you know that already. Finally if you read this Rob H, thanks for turning me on to him all those years ago.

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10/04/2011 - Jazz Cafe - London, UK

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