It takes some serious balls to come back from the social dead and launch your first-ever solo gigs, after having been sacked by your hugely successful band, admitting an alcohol-fuelled assault of your partner (Vikki Ager), serving 200 hours of unpaid community service work, and suffering a mental health breakdown as a result. Fast forward from that very depth of Tom Meighan’s fall two years ago, where he was effectively condemned or cancelled by today’s culture, to see him now standing back on a stage, smiling and waving at his wife (the same Vikki Ager he assaulted) in the balcony, it is nothing short of a miracle, a resurrection of sorts, just after Easter.
Many boycotted this tour for a variety of reasons, some moral, some more for the fact he hadn’t released anything, Who is in his band? and the expectation that he wouldn’t be allowed to play any Kasabian songs. All of that was just hearsay and nonsense, I’ve never seen such energy from the off, the band he has backing him is immense, youthful, lively and has more spark than the last three Kasabian shows I’ve seen put together. This was their second live gig, they must have been rehearsing for months to get this tight so soon.
The hall is half full, the balcony even less, but that doesn’t stop the “Movin On” Tour and tonight is the kick-off date in Leeds. Kasabian played here only six months ago and sold out the venue without their lead singer, so Tom has some serious work to put in to convert the masses.
He opens with a track from his “Movin’ On” single – “Out Of This World” and bounds onto the stage jumping straight on the monitors, open arms, shades on and beckoning the crowd into what will be an intense hour and a half. He’s got a frilly white shirt and skinny black jeans, topped with a jacket that doesn’t come off till halfway through the set. The voice is as powerful as I’ve ever heard and as a frontman – one of the best from his era, which includes Liam Gallagher. The comparisons to him stop there though as Meighan is much more energetic and approachable than the menacing Manc.
Any doubts about whether Meighan’s band can cut it with key Kasabian numbers are eradicated as the opening guitar salvo for “Underdog” is blasted across the hall, cue massive cheers, hands in the air and the lyrics now totally fitting the situation “Kill me if you dare, hold my head up everywhere, keep myself right on this train” refusing to be beaten by the troglodyte media, our underdog will fight till the death to get back to full concert halls. It will happen, based on this performance alone more people need to see a Tom Meighan solo rock show.
He will go on to play several more Kasabian stunners like “Shoot the Runner” that he dedicates to Keith Flint and proceeds to throw in a bit of Prodigy’s “Breathe” into the mix. “L.S.F” and “Empire,” followed by “Club Foot” which closes the initial set. All the while injecting new material which fits nicely into the set alongside the classics. “Would You Mind” sounds suitably epic tonight with some heartfelt lyrics about asking for help when struggling in any way, I know a local MensTalk charity is here, this should be their adopted theme tune?
Aside from that emotional ballad-type stuff, the rest is just a bombastic rip-roaring rock show, with all the bright lights and big tune choruses you can muster. If this is what his 2nd ever solo gig is like, by summer we will see a fully-fledged band ready to tackle any major festival stage, he’s moved on and so should we, and as his T-Shirt merch proudly says – “No Tom, No Party!”
Tom Meighan Set List:
1. Out of this World
3. Somethings About to Change
5. Shoot the Runner
6. Thinking on Our Feet
7. Would You Mind
9. LSF (Lost Souls Forever)
10. Deep Dive
12. Darkest Hour
13. Let It Ride
15. Club Foot
16. Movin’ On