Tom Cunliffe is an Auckland resident of Irish descent who plays a lovely blend of folksy Americana, has a really good debut album out on Lyttelton Records out of Christchurch and another album due out in April. This short tour is in promotion of that new record.
This was my first gig at the new Lyttelton Records Cafe/Bar/record shop/music venue. It is a pretty small venue with a capacity of only about 80 people and it was not full for this date. I found the setup a bit of a let down with the stage in the center of the long narrow venue and seating limited but also taking up a lot of the standing room in front of the stage. The bar was off to the side of the sage with a brick wall separating but there was a window looking from the end of the bar into the stage area and a speaker to project the music into this area. It was at the far end of the bar I found a perch with my drink as I waited for the first act of the night. This was another Tom, although I did not get to hear his last name. This Tom played just solo guitar and some piano and did some really good tunes although lyrically a little on the dark side and the guitar playing was cool and slightly heavy in places. Who ever he was I enjoyed his set.
After he finished. I snuck into a gap in the seating up against a wall where I got a much better view of the stage and waited for Tom Cunliffe to mount the stage.
This Tom also played solo, mostly electric and later some acoustic guitar. I had a re listen to his first album earlier to reacquaint myself with his songs, but actually most of the show was at first all the new stuff, I believe, from his up coming album and so I didn't know any of it, but it sounded promising and sometimes whimsical, as apposed to the more melancholy stuff on the first record. Towards the end of his set a lady at the front asked if he would play Old Moon, a great song off the first album(which I just now discovered was not his first album, as he has an earlier one on Bandcamp), He duly obliged as she enthusiastically sung along to every word. He played two more songs off that record to which he got more reaction from the audience as they all knew the songs and all are great songs. It was a most enjoyable evening and Tom is a bloody great singer, an impressive lyricist and a strong entertainer. Great night, really glad I went.