Instead of the solo singer-songwriter I’d been expecting, a four-piece band took the stage and performed twelve songs in just over an hour. They were all sung in English, and all but one of them were originals with half being from their new album ‘All I Know’. The band comprises: Tomáš Maček a.k.a. Thom Artway on lead vocals and electric/semi-acoustic guitar; Ondřej Jurášekon electric and double bass and background vocals; Martin Kudla on keyboards, electric guitar and background vocals; Martin Hrabal on drums and percussion.
Their music had plenty of light and shade and this was exemplified by Ondřej switching between electric and double bass within the same song on two occasions. Each performer was allowed to shine. They could play it quite heavy in songs such as ‘My Heart Won’t Bleed’ while Tomáš introduced ‘Sleeping Next to You’ with, “Are you ready for a country song?” and it had a much sparser sound, featuring some harmonica and tambourine. Both Tomáš and Ondřej came up with lean emotive guitar solos and there was atmospheric use of pedals and synth.
A common theme in many of the songs was personal relationships with titles such as ‘Sleeping Next to You’, ‘Many Partings’ and ‘Can’t Wait’. You don’t hear much whistling in songs these days so it was pleasing to hear some at the beginning of ‘Can’t Wait’ and the use of the word ‘clammy’ in the same song could well be a first in popular song. The audience were invited to sing along to the chorus of ‘High Above The Trees’ and they did. The band were clearly enjoying themselves and didn’t appear to be phased by the largely empty room. The overall sound of the instruments was very clear but, as so often, the same couldn’t be said for the vocals, which were drowned out a bit at times but Tomáš displayed a wide vocal range and was reminiscent at times of Chris Martin. He harmonised well with Ondřej and Martin K. on a number of songs.
Tomáš is a Czech singer-songwriter who’s been part of the Czech music scene since 2013 and he gained greater exposure following the release of his first single ‘I Have No Inspiration’ in 2015. Thom Artway have two albums available – ‘Hedgehog’ (2016) and the recently-released ‘All I Know’, both of which are available on Warner Music.
It was a shame that they came onstage just before 10.30 on a Sunday evening as with Monday morning looming, most of the sparse crowd faded away during their set and so they missed an impressive performance. This gig was part of a seven date U.K. tour and they have gigs coming up in Hungary and Germany as well as in the Czech Republic.
You can find out a lot more on the Thom Artway Facebook page and on www.thomartway.com