Tom Walker, Barrowlands, Glasgow **
As he walked on stage singing the opening lines of Paolo Nutini-esque sweeping soul-pop number Angels, the Kilsyth raised multi-instrumentalist could have literally strolled in straight off the street. Between him and fellow Scots everybloke Lewis Capaldi’s recent precipitous rise, it’s like the age of the ordinary boys.
Walker scratched around the London music scene in obscurity for years before finally catching a series of hard-earned breaks ultimately leading to his 2017 single Leave a Light On becoming a global hit, netting him the Best Breakthrough Act at this year’s Brit Awards and eventually a number debut one album.
Unifying his mixed nuts bag of songs was the uncanny sense that they all seemed to invoke at least one other contemporary artist. How Can You Sleep At Night recalled Mumford and Sons’ ersatz folk-rock down to the detail. His percussive guitar playing on the cod reggae Blessings was pure Ed Sheeran. The grizzly blues growl Walker effected whenever he needed to take his vocals up a gear, throughout the bluesy stomping Cry Out for instance, was straight out of Rag’n’Bone Man’s playbook.
Offsetting some of the inevitability about his runaway biggest hit coming last, Walker brought out the Red Hot Chilli Pipers to add some skirling embellishment to its rousing contours. They all wore beanies in Walkers’ image. At least you can’t fault the guy’s sense of humour. - MALCOLM JACK