Alan Grundy enjoys a triple dose of TV Smith with three gigs in three nights.

TV Smith

Forts Arms Clayton le Moors, Lancashire; Adam & Eve, Birmingham; The Glebe, Stoke-On-Trent

14th, 15th, 16th Jan, 2015

Last year, I’d had to wait until March for my first shot of acoustic punk TV Smith (review here) so it was pleasing to see that his return to the same venue was in January this year. Soon after booking time off for this one, I saw on TV’s website (tvsmith.com) that he was playing 2 gigs prior to this. It was too good an opportunity to miss so I called in some favours at work and I was up & running.

PAC 3rd. Anniversary,

Forts Arms Clayton le Moors, Lancashire

14th Jan 2015

The Panjenix Acoustic Club gig was quite local for me and is a regular Wednesday “open mic” event featuring (mainly) local musicians. Zero, the organiser had been trying for some time to get TV to star at one of these occasions and when better than the third anniversary. We arrived in good time and after a quick chat with the man himself (TV not Zero) in the public bar, made our way into the large backroom where the show would take place. We didn’t have long to wait and there followed an eclectic mix of solo artists and bands before TV took to the stage.

Perhaps I should mention here that not only are the PAC gigs free to get into but there’s also free food – pie & mushy peas (real Lancashire grub) as well as (on this night) vegetarian quiche!

So if you’re in the area and fancy a great night out check out the Facebook page.

Anyone who’s seen TV in a solo setting (and if you haven’t, why not?) will know what to expect.
Nearly 40 years on from when The Adverts graced the punk rock scene with their unrivalled view of the 70’s, TV is still offering his unique view on social injustice, the Establishment and life in general armed only with his trusty Brooks acoustic guitar and a back catalogue of songs that most artists would die for. Surprisingly, with a new album released only late last year, there were only a couple of tunes from it although we were treated to a rare live outing of the Cheap track “New Ways Are Best”. Trooper that he is, Tim wasn’t fazed when 5 songs into his set, members of the audience joined in on various percussion instruments. If you’ve ever wondered what TV Smith would sound like with, tambourine, bongos, conga and djembe(?) accompaniment, this was the gig to be at!

Although the atmosphere was relaxed, the audience (from late teens to pensioners) were with Tim all the way and he even triumphed over the offer of “free pie” half way through the set. Increasing the tempo, the show climaxed with a trio of Adverts songs and there was just enough time to squeeze in “Runaway Train Driver” before TV had to vacate the stage for the other 4 acts that wound the night down.

Set List:

  • Replay
  • No Time To Be 21
  • Only One Flavour
  • Coming In To Land
  • Lion & The Lamb
  • Useless
  • March Of The Giants
  • I Delete
  • Expensive Being Poor
  • Immortal Rich
  • Generation Y
  • My String Will Snap
  • New Ways Are Best
  • The Day We Caught The Big Fish
  • New Church
  • Lord’s Prayer
  • Gary Gilmore’s Eyes
  • Bored Teenagers
  • One Chord Wonders
  • Runaway Train Driver

Adam & Eve, Birmingham

15th Jan 2015

After last night’s mix of acts, we were back to more familiar ground in Birmingham. The Adam & Eve is a typical old fashioned inner city pub in a fairly run down area but the atmosphere is good, the staff are friendly and they do have some great bands appearing there. Unfortunately, I missed most of the sets of the opening two punk bands. The first (The Victims? who were a last minute replacement) due to the usual gridlock on the M6 although they did close with a Slaughter & The Dogs cover – nice welcome for a Manchester lad! And the second as I was talking to TV. I was impressed with the third act up, Dead Flowers whose brand of psychedelic garage rock went down well even with the largely “punk” audience and are well worth checking out (https://www.facebook.com/deadflowersuk).

There’s always a worry that after 3 full on bands, how will the audience react to one man & his guitar? Well, Tim is no stranger to high energy and I’ve never not seen him win an audience over. The man is soo damn good at what he does! Even though the subject matter is serious, there’s always a fine tune in with the message and TV never comes across as “preachy”. We were treated to three cuts from the new album this time around and a comeback for “Complaints Dept.” The audience were so into things towards the end of the set that they were entirely receptive to a bit of poetry as well before proceedings were culminated with the usual trio of Adverts anthems. Even a broken string during “Bored Teenagers” didn’t stop Teev and he finished his set with a “well weird” “One Chord Wonders” on 5 strings!

Set List:

  • Only One Flavour
  • No Time To Be 21
  • First One To Sign Up
  • Coming In To Land
  • We Who Wait
  • Replay
  • Lion & The Lamb
  • I Delete
  • Expensive Being Poor
  • Immortal Rich
  • Generation Y
  • My String Will Snap
  • Television’s Over
  • Complaints Dept.
  • The Good Times Are Back
  • The Day We Caught The Big Fish
  • My Punk Rock Poem
  • Gary Gilmore’s Eyes
  • Bored Teenagers
  • One Chord Wonders

The Glebe, Stoke-On-Trent

16th Jan 2015

I was back at The Glebe for the last of my trio of gigs and it’s one of my favourite venues (https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Glebe/). I arrived in good time – so early in fact that the stage was still being built! I settled in with the workers calling in for a drink after work and some early arrivees, enlivened by being mistaken for TV himself – fame at last! Soon the real TV Smith arrived to set up his merchandise table.

Unfortunately, the support band Retrovibe who’d impressed last year were all down with the flu so we were only going to be seeing the main man. But hey, every cloud has a silver lining and this meant that we were going to be treated to a longer set. TV took to the newly built stage and after a quick soundcheck in front of the expectant audience, launched into “Replay”. As well as the usual suspects in the set, the lack of time restraints meant that there was time for some rarer live renditions of “Driver Or Passenger”, “Soon As I Found It” and “Your Ticket Out Of Here”. The Glebe audience was obviously a cultured one(!) so for the second night in a row, “My Punk Rock Poem” made an appearance before the set was closed with the ubiquitous Adverts songs. The crowd wasn’t having any of this though and without the excuse of a broken string this time, TV returned for a rousing “Runaway Train Driver”.

Set List:

  • Replay
  • No Time To Be 21
  • Safety In Numbers
  • Only One Flavour
  • What If?
  • Driver Or Passenger
  • Coming In To Land
  • Lion & The Lamb
  • I Delete
  • Expensive Being Poor
  • Immortal Rich
  • Soon As I Found It
  • Great British Mistake
  • Generation Y
  • Your Ticket Out Of Here
  • New Church
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • The Future Used To Be Better
  • My String Will Snap
  • Television’s Over
  • In The Arms Of My Enemy
  • The Day We Caught The Big Fish
  • My Punk Rock Poem
  • Gary Gilmore’s Eyes
  • Bored Teenagers
  • One Chord Wonders
  • Runaway Train Driver

TV was playing at The Three Tuns in Gateshead the night after this and although I’d loved my last visit to the town (at a different venue), I’d got family stuff to do and I probably wouldn’t be able to spell “quadruple”.

~

TV Smith’s website is here: tvsmith.com. He can also be found on Facebook.

All words by Alan Grundy. More of Alan’s writing for Louder Than War  can be found at his author’s archive.

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