Archive for the ‘Gig reviews’ Category

John Rylands Library gigs

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Last Saturday I did the sound engineering for a really lovely gig at the John Rylands Library on Deansgate in Manchester.

The gig took place in the evening – after the library usually closes. It was in the main hall – an amazing, ornate building, with incredibly high ceilings, and a really weird acoustic – kind of dead-sounding if you talked quitely, but with a really nice reverb if you clapped your hands or shouted.

The space was laid out to hold 130 people, and the gig was sold out… or rather, all the free tickets were taken. It was a great atmosphere. Becca Williams (and her Broken Biscuit band) opened the night, followed by JP Cooper, and finally Karima Francis.

The night was organised by Chris Thomas, who has put on several gigs in unusual places previously – including the Manchester Museum. It was a highly successful evening, so hopefully there will be more of the same in the future…

Glastonbury Festival

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Hi everyone….  I’ve been a little bit lazy updating the blog recently!

Glastonbury festival was great. I worked for a lot of it, but had a really good time. Saw the Levellers headling the Glade on Sunday night, plus The XX, The National, Florence and the Machine and lots of other good performances.

The work part of it involved driving 4x4s across the site – mainly scanning in stewards at different gates on the site, and giving them tea and coffee in the middle of the night. Quite a fun job really!

The weather at Glastonbury was absolutely fantastic – no rain at all for the whole week.

Looking forward to next year’s festival already!


Mushaboom / Hi, How Are You?

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Just got back from doing sound at the “Hi, How are You?” Night at Fuel, promoted by Phil from Mushaboom. It was a really lovely night, despite headliner Jose Vanders cancelling. Mia Vigar, Deaf to Van Gogh’s Ear and Thom Stone all did excelent performances, and it was a great atmosphere, as always with Fuel. The chocolate brownies and coconut cake were especially good!

Hi, How Are You? Night at Fuel, WIthington

Hi, How Are You? Night at Fuel, WIthington

Sunflower Lounge gig on 2nd November

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Hey! I’m playing the lovely Sunflower Sessions night, at the Sunflower Lounge (just down the road from Birmingham New Street Station) on Sunday, November 2nd. It’s £1 in, if I remember rightly, and should be a really nice night of acoustic music. You can catch live sessions by:

Tom Kerswill
Alex Harmon
Harlem Dandy
Marcus Bonfanti
Tim Allen

I’ve just received my new EP back from being mastered, which is quite exciting… Hopefully if it’s ready by 2nd November, I’ll have a few copies of it with me!



Gig tonight – Joe’s Bar, Northern Qt, Manchester

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Hi everyone

I’m playing in Joe’s Bar tonight (Monday 6th October) as part of In the City Fringe festival… I’m on at 7.30pm… Should be a good night. More info can be found at: … Here’s the full lineup:

NUCLEAR – In The City Official Fringe Venue! Listings announced!
Current mood: artistic
Category: Music


Friday 3rd October

DJ 11pm – onwards

10pm – 11pm – Circus Animals Dissertion

9.10pm – 9.40pm – The Counter Culture

8.30pm – 9 pm – The S R Gents

7:50pm – 8:20pm – Kni9hts

Saturday 4th October

DJ – 11pm onwards – 11pm – The Huw Wilcox Band

9.10pm – 9.40pm – CrazyDaze

8.30pm – 9pm – El Policia

7.50pm – 8.20pm The Fayre

7.10pm – 7.40pm – Strange Ways

6.30pm – 7pm – Tori Bragg

5:50pm – 6:20pm – Disco Jane Doe

Sunday 5th October

DJ – 11pm onwards

10:30pm – 11pm – The Strands

9:50pm – 10:20pm – Strange Ways

9pm – 9:30pm – Purlin

8:20pm – 8:50pm – Tidal Fury

7:40pm – 8:10pm – Calvinball

7pm – 7:30pm – Antihero

6:20pm – 6:50pm – The Project

Monday 6th October – Acoustic

10:30 – 11pm – The Perrys (Electric)

9:50pm – 10:20pm – Dys

9pm – 9:30pm – Paddy O’Hare

8:20pm – 8:50pm – Gareth Wandless

7:40pm – 8:10pm – Tom Kerswill

7pm – 7:30pm – Jonny Dobbs

6:20pm – 6:50pm – Oliver J Brooke

5:30pm – 6:10pm – Troubadour

Review of Winelight Club gig

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Really enjoyed playing the Winelight Club in Bury. Here’s a link to a review from Manchester Music (please click link to read full review – here’s a small excerpt – really chuffed to get such a good review:


Probably the star of the evening is TOM KERSWILL, a familiar face on the city circuit and very much a one man band. Tom’s energetic approach to his music finds him on cue with work boots, well worn jeans and maybe his favourite t-shirt. He’s casual in image but so absolutely meticulous when it comes to songwriting. His guitar style eschews finger picking for the best part, with his dynamic strums sometimes feverishly staggering between big chord crashes. The songs are perfectly trim and crammed with infectious, serious melodies. There’s not just one or two gems here but a whole string of tunes that hook you in to the observational lyrics as the set is interspersed with tales from the road and anecdotes about missed trains. “My Mind’s Eye” is one of Tom’s signature tunes and I for one hope that more people get to hear and see him play.


Friday, May 4th, 2007

Ryan has put up some really good pictures of our Sweetwater Brewery gig…

Meanwhile I have some of the Georgia Trip including pics of CJ’s Landing and Sweetwater Brewery and pics of MahoneyFest 2007 festival.

The Birmingham Beast

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

When I first heard about Birmingham University’s BEAST project in 2004, the prospect of going to see a “live” performance didn’t seem instantly appealing – high-fidelity sound played from laptops to an auditorium…. I thought it would be a bit like going to a hifi store and listening to some high-end sound systems.

I was pretty wrong about that. The BEAST performance in Birmingham on Saturday 3th May was impressive and, at times, breathtaking. 96 high-quality studio monitors of all shapes and sizes are used to create a massive sound field. Sound, originating from some computers running MaxDSP, is “diffused” around the room using a large number of mixing desks. The music ranged from sublime watery sounds to impressive electronic booms and whines that whizzed over your head and almost under your feet. It was a bit like listening to fireworks, except with sound, rather than vision.

The evening comprised a collection of pieces by various composers. We were there to see a new performance by electroacoustic composer Alexander J Harker, Orbits for piano and Max/MSP featuring Melissa Morris on piano. The piece relied heavily on improvisation, with a microphone which sampled the piano, and generate counter melodies and phrases. It was an unusual and beautiful performance – and as you’d imagine from BEAST’s high-end equipment, the quality of sound was absolutely fantastic. It was the first time I’d seen any of Harker’s pieces performed live – and was certainly a great introduction. I’m looking forward to hearing more!

Other pieces included an interpretation of Claude Lelouch’s C’etait un Rendezvous (click for YouTube video. The composer, Pete Stollery, undertook the same journey – this time on foot – and sampled audio from various locations along the way. scenes/rendez-vous was an incredibly detailed journey, and really enjoyable to listen to… the sounds of Paris flashed by in multiple directions, as if we’d all been picked up in a cage and carried through the city on foot.

Birmingham University’s BEAST project performs one or two large concerts a year, and can be found here.

New York Photos

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Finally got round to putting up some photos of the New York Tour!

Exmouth gig

Saturday, July 1st, 2006

I enjoyed the gig down at Exmouth today… thanks, Kris, for asking me to play. It was good to see the sea again as well….

Shambolic Reggae

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Went to a slightly shambolic reggae festival in Platt Fields park, Manchester, on Saturday. With the festival staring over 3 hours late, most performers ended up only being on stage for a couple of songs. And quality was variable… I also almost narowly escape food-poising from a piece of jerk-chicken, but counter-acted it by drinking an evil-tasting concoction of Jamaican spinach… hmmmm…

Late Room gig

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

Thanks so much to everyone who came along to the Late Room gig on Tuesday. It was lovely to see so many of you, and that made it a really good night! Really enjoyed meeting some of the other bands that played too. Looking forward to the next Manchester gig – Jabez Clegg, 27th February.

Thanks a lot!


Weekend of music

Monday, October 17th, 2005

Hello! It’s been a good weekend. Friday I went out in the Northern Quarter of Manchester with my house mate Pete. On Saturday I just played some quiet music in the living rooms of friends and then headed off to a few parties in Withington.

On Sunday I went to Night and Day, to see the Breaks. A great gig – and very good support from *The Seal Cub Clubbing Club* (what a name!) and *Chris T-T* — whose blend of protest songs is truely great. A bit like Billy Brag but more up-to-date and in tune…. 😉

The Breaks themselves were full of infectious 10-second songs. In fact, the longest tune of the set was probably not more than 3 minutes. First time I’d seen them live and it was good 🙂

I’m beginning to recognise the regulars in Night and Day, actually – it’s quite a small group who go to these gigs. Night and Day is a fantastic venue for new music as well as big bands. And there’s a lot of good music coming up in the next few weeks.

After the gig we headed further into the Northern Quarter and had a few drinks until closing time, before heading back to Withington on the bus…

In The City reviews

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

At the beginning of each October, thousands of A&R types descend on the city of Manchester to talk about all things music-related. In the evening, it becomes a great place to see music – as pretty much every possible venue becomes host to local and international bands.

Choosing which to go and see is always a tricky business. Things kicked off on Friday the 30th. My top choice was to see up-coming band Fleeing New York, followed by Eighties Matchbox… but as is often the case in Manchester, it had started bucketting with rain.

A queue formed outside Dry Bar in the Northern Quarter, and it soon became clear that the event would sell out, with us not making it inside. So we went to nearby Night and Day – which is a well-respected venue for new music.

In there we caught sets from Tricky Nixon, Children, and 3rd Dan. There were some good, tight performances. But something about a room full of record company types, and a pressurised atmosphere, took a bit of getting used to. And though the bands were good, there were no really memorable tunes to speak of. It’s hard to put your finger on what makes a good atmosphere, but in Night and Day there was certainly something a bit tense or hectic which didn’t add to the night.

The next afternoon we returned to Night and Day to gatecrash an industry party to celebrate the launch of a new Manchester XFM. It had a free bar. Much fun indeed!

But in the evening I decided to try somewhere a bit different. The Font Bar – which was free to get into – played host to the best acts from local Indie label Fat Northerner. There was some really good stuff, and the atmosphere was superb. Also met quite a few people I’d talked to the night before… turns out it’s a surprisingly small community of people who enjoy discovering good music.

There was also the chance to natter briefly to some of the guys behind Fat Northerner – and it restored my faith in the music scene here to know that there are people actively pushing new or innovative music.

There was a huge amount of other good music happening – and my own experience was probably a bit atypical. On Sunday I headed to Jabez Clegg for an indie-style festival. It was pretty empty to start with – no A&R types out here – but the atmosphere soon built up. It’s a surprisingly large venue – and I reckon it would be pretty good if filled with some large headline acts. A lot of fun watching some of the acts on here.

Finally, Bedlam that evening played host to some fantastic acoustic acts – including Emmy the Great, Man from Cov and lastly “Son of Dave”. This last was an incredible performance. The guy beatboxes, plays harmonica, rattles a shaker, and sings – all at the same time. With the help of a couple of delay pedals he’d set the place on fire. Sounded like a full deck and a drum machine to me – but no, all those beats had really come from his mouth. Has to be seen to be believed really.

A good end to the festival for me. Monday’s technically the last day… but instead I chose to wonder around Manchester, discovering random venues. Ended up going to Temple Bar and finally “Big Hands” with some mates. Both venues have supplies of interesting beers and – interestingly – are half-owned by the guys from Elbow.

Roll on next year!

Phoenix Pictures

Monday, June 13th, 2005


Originally uploaded by tomkerswill.

Here’s a picture of our Exeter Phoenix gig on Thursday. Next chance to catch us is at the Actress and Bishop, Birmingham on Wednesday 15th June.

Click on the photo to the right to gain access to other photos from the night.

This photo is copyright Alison Edwards, 2005.