A strong set at the Kazimier shows Getintothis’ Sean Bradbury the multi-intrumentalist’s more mature side.
Tom Vek is no longer the hairy young pretender whose homespun electropop debut We Have Sound promised so much with shades of Beck and suggestions of LCD Soundsystem almost a decade ago.
Furthermore he has loosened and progressed beyond the tighter, more industrial dance-rock sound of 2011 follow-up Leisure Seizure; when recent release Luck really hits the spot, it marries hard-edged grooves with arch experimentation to great effect.
His set at the Kazimier begins with the droning, mutated loops of How Am I Meant To Know, the opener from the new record. He kicks straight into the final track on the album, Let’s Pray, an incantation built on big beats and a deep, fuzzy six-string drawl.
It takes a little while for Vek and the crowd to click and it is difficult to figure him out at times – is he a really a reluctant showman, or is it all part of a knowing act? But he soon settles and starts engaging between songs, and extending a hand out high to conduct the contours of his own voice during them.
Vek chops chunky garage guitar riffs into the mix for most of the set, but some of the standouts see him take to the bass, be it with fingers dancing up and down on early highlight C-C (You Set The Fire In Me) or picking the throbbing line at the heart of closer Sherman (Animals In The Jungle).
The three-piece band playfully segue last single Pushing Your Luck into a Push It coda – “everybody needs a bit of Salt-n-Pepa in their life” – before pinging back and forth between old and new as we get A Little Word in Your Ear, Ton of Bricks, Aroused and Trying To Do Better.
The run to the finish gets stronger and stronger, with a particularly well-received Nothing But Green Lights followed by a swaggering Someone Loves You and some of the most impassioned vocals of the night on A Chore.
While there is a clear trajectory to the development of his tunes, Vek remains something of a contradiction. It’s at turns hard to work out why he’s not a lot bigger, and easy to hear why he might not break much further out of the box. But it is impossible not to root for him all the same.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Darren Aston