Tom McRae joined Sweet Billy Pilgrim‘s residency at The Alexandra last night.
Fresh from supporting The Futureheads at The Shepherd’s Bush Empire and a session on John Kennedy’s Xposure XFM show (both on Wednesday) Sweet Billy Pilgrim (and Tom McRae) played to a crowded Alexandra.
That’s two Mercury Prize nominated acts. For free. In a North London boozer. It was possibly the greatest musical line up since I bought a front row seat to see Guns N Roses supporting Aerosmith (only for the whole thing to be cancelled). Possibly. (well – what’s better? Take That and The Pet Shop Boys? Oh no).
“There’s something here – I don’t want to call it a scene. Perhaps it’s a community.” declared Tom McRae before the singer-songwriter wowed a noisy crowd with songs like Jet Engine Lullaby (which morphed into Simon and Garfunkel‘s The Only Living Man In New York) and (from his debut album) Boy With The Bubblegun. Impressive stuff – if you haven’t heard McRae’s records I recommend them highly.
Maybe it is a scene….?
As the lights collapsed around him (I’ve spent every penny I’ve earned from Spotify on these lights” he quipped) and he reminded us how good Paul McCartney is (“I’d like to remind everybody that he wrote Yesterday. What the f- did you do?!”) McRae played a blinding acoustic set including songs from new album From The Lowlands.
As for Sweet Billy Pilgrim? They looked delighted to have Tom McRae join the fun this week. There was a nice new version of Archaeology in their all-too-short set, whilst Blakefield Gold and Kracklite both got an airing and (as is becoming a tradition) the whole pub sang along to Blue Sky Falls. But then you knew that would happen, didn’t you…?
Sweet Billy Pilgrim play Upstairs at The Garage, London on the 10th October 2012. Their residency at The Alexandra continues for two more weeks.
Tom McRae’s is on tour in France and the UK in October and November. For dates see his website.
Record #93: Tom McRae – Boy With The Bubblegun