Friday, December 30, 2005

Michael E. Thomas - Live Review

It was 10pm when we staggered in through the doors of Bar 7 in Portstewart, already drunkened after a few hours of Seagal and Van Damme flicks (oh the cheese). Upon getting the requisite drinks we glanced around the venue for some seatery, and what luck! Two seats right in front of the man we have come here to worship, Michael E. Thomas.

For those uninitiated a few words are needed. Michael E. is an American musician who lives and performs in Northern Ireland. His weapon of choice is the guitar, which he is particularly proficient at playing. His live shows are usually segregated into two types, a full band line-up normally playing original songs, and a solo spot where he will play mostly covers. Tonight is one of the latter. He also has various albums to his name, ranging from blues, acoustic material, and even children’s songs.

So here we are, bowing at the altar of Michael E. A special occasion if for no other reason than it’s the first time seeing him in many many months for both I and my accomplice. Equipped with a guitar hitherto retired since last May, but now with brand new (and ultra rare) pickups, as ascertained by a pre-set conversation, he is ready to pulverise all our aurals with wonderfully catchy and technical playing. Oh, did I mention he sings too.

He opens with some songs, I can’t remember which, but all the old favourites are there, including some new ones, like that Killers song. Undoubtedly the main spectacle of his acoustic shows is the mighty Acousticous Eruptous (that reminds me, I’ll have to ask him if he’s seen Scorpius Gigantus next time I see him). This song consists of a long instrumental guitar jam, which segues into a cover of The Stones’ Paint It Black that puts the original to shame, and then segues into a final epilogue of instrumentality. I can do no justice to it whatsoever in words, it’s simply brilliant to watch, the energy and guitar skill involved is breathtaking. The song is enough to even get the apathetic patrons at the bar to turn around and gawk in awe as Michael E’s strumming hand becomes an invisible blur.

I sat with a permanent smile on my face throughout the entire set (alongside the necessary bar trips and toilet trips). He pumped out covers of Stairway To Heaven and others, all rousing renditions, packed full of energy and passion. Perhaps the highlight (besides the aforementioned Acousticous) would be when he played Welcome To The Machine by Pink Floyd after I chanted my request for it between songs. Oh yes, it’s been too long.

Maybe it’s just because I hadn’t seen him in so long, but I don’t think he’s ever been better. Let’s be honest, he was on fire here, all that pent up frustration of a week spent in the recording studio let out in a blaze of musicological prodigiousness. If you ever get a chance, go and see this guy play; solo, band, whatever, you’ll fucking love it.

Visit Michael E’s website here.


Anonymous Duke De Mondo said...

wonderful! hells fire, i'll need to be gettin me to one a these shows in the soon-times. if only to hear you ask him if he's seen Scorpius Gigantus!

5:45 pm  
Blogger Miss Templeton said...

I must confess this is the first time you've written about music that sounds like my kind of music.

Not that your posts on death/thrash metal aren't appreciated by me. Indeed, if anything will finally encourage me to wander over to the Goth/Industrial/Metal section of Rasputin Records, it will be your fine writing on that subject.

4:58 pm  
Blogger Aaron Fleming said...

Thanks folks.

11:07 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home