mon 19/03/2018

Teddy and Kami Thompson, Jazz Café Camden | reviews, news & interviews

Teddy and Kami Thompson, Jazz Café Camden

Teddy and Kami Thompson, Jazz Café Camden

Thompson siblings make it a family folk rock night to remember

Teddy Thompson: a natural performer

These days Teddy Thompson seems entirely his own man. In fact, mentioning his family connections seems almost gratuitous. Last night, however, the son of Richard and Linda shared the evening with sister Kami and nephew Zak for a family knees-up before a devoted crowd. And, for the most part, they all seemed to be having a thoroughly good time. 

Opening up proceedings was Kami, who took to the stage casually in a white blouse and black pants as if she'd finished a day working in a local office. Kamila Thompson's set of bittersweet observational folk-rock came mainly from her forthcoming debut album. There was a darkness to it, quite at odds with her between-songs middle-class banter. "Tick Tock", the opener, a murderous break-up tale, revealed a voice that sat squarely between her parents' and an ability to show menace through restraint.

On "Never Again" her voice, full enough to penetrate every corner of the room, also showed how it could soar. It was on the acoustic "Pretty Boy", however, that it showed it deepest effect. There was also some excellent swearing on "Gotta Hold On" and "Screw You". But, musically, her song of the evening was her last, "Nice Cars". And the only lyrics I could hear, "Ladies shouldn't drive nice cars/ They're only going to break our hearts", made me want to hear more. 

Kami’s weakness, though, was her delivery which, if not exactly apologetic, still lacked conviction. I don't know where Teddy Thompson has been touring over the last decade, but from the moment he shuffled on stage and said, "Oh, I see my sister has left her stuff everywhere again," it was evident that he's nowhere more comfortable than on it.

Teddy played eight of the 13 songs from his enjoyable last album. Stripped of their slick retro-country-rock production they blended into an evening that seemed, in part, greatest hits, sometimes pure country and occasionally cabaret: knitted together with Teddy's easy manner and folk-club humour.

'Last night was a reminder of how good Thompson's songwriting has always been'


Of all the new material, "Delilah" was a sure-fire way to get things going. But for those who thought the new album showed how far Thompson's songwriting had developed, last night was a reminder of how good it has always been. The country shuffle of "Can't Sing Straight" brought a swing to the room, and "Everybody Move It" and "In My Arms" were pure pop gold.

Kami-Thompson-croppedThompson is a natural performer. He's a good guitarist (a much better guitarist than his sister [pictured right], but not quite up to the standard of his father) and has the best voice in the family. The only slightly odd thing about his stage manner is the very stern expression he produces when caught in an emotion. There were plenty of those in his mini "country set", all from the 2007 album Up Front and Down Low. "Down Low" felt like it came genuinely from the heart of a man spat out along the highway somewhere in Tennessee.

For three numbers Teddy introduced his nephew Zak, seemingly about 15 years old, on stage. Zak was precociously fluent and seemed to be enjoying himself. And then, for Linda Thompson's "Babyshambles", the three of them all played together.

It's a testimony to Teddy's desire to be an independent entity that we don't yet think of the Thompson clan in quite the same way as the Wainwrights. Looking at the three of them on stage, at the end of the evening, however, I couldn't help but wonder, for how much longer.

Watch Teddy Thompson perform "Delilah" at last year's Glastonbury

from the moment he shuffled on was evident that he's nowhere more comfortable than on it

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