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David Thomas Broughton, The Windmill, Brixton, January 24th 2010

January 25, 2010

A weekend email from Tim at The Windmill told us that David Thomas Broughton was Sunday night’s last-minute booking. Astral and I were keen to go as we’ve been fans of David’s ever since our jaws dropped when we first saw him. Nothing quite prepares you for a DTB gig (apologies for the annoying acronym, but it really does save time for my imprecise typing fingers).

He’s an accomplished classical and folk guitar picker who uses his loop/delay pedal to create swirling or juddery rhythms that soothe or unsettle, depending on mood and, quite possibly, chance. When he sings, it really starts to sound strange and different. His clarion voice – a Yorkshire baritone – is looped endlessly and begins to sound like an unearthly choir.

What’s more, DTB moves not just around the stage, but off the stage and into the audience, occasionally knocking himself on the head with his microphone – the sound of which is then incorporated into the rhythm of the tune. When we saw him play in the elegant St Pancras church in Euston a couple of years ago, he took great delight in climbing the spiral steps of the pulpit mid-song and declaiming like some demented folktronic preacher. Excellent stuff.

Tonight DTB was filming a video for his new record, but it didn’t seem to cramp his style. Most of his songs, if you manage to catch the lyrics, are about love or poverty – one of his finest, Weight Of My Love, complains that he ‘can’t afford a pasty from the Greggs bakery’. Making this sort of music won’t earn him much in the way of pasties, but DTB’s an unsettling, amusing and compelling performer.

Oh, and support came from one of my local favourites, the Boycott Coca Cola Experience – a one-man band of primitive plucked blues underscoring surreal tales from South East London. See him now before he gets bigger than Jesus. Well, possibly taller, anyway…

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