Tom Vek, Moby @ Brixton Academy 19/​​05/​​05

Brixton Academy is a curious place. A popular venue for the short among us (god bless that sloping floor), this ex-​​theatre has played host to some of the most historic shows and the most memorable performances. However, there is also the possibility that the cavernous space can suck the life and soul out of an otherwise outstanding group of musicians. If the same happens to a less capable group, we’re all in trouble.

Tom Vek has had an interesting year. From wooing the music industry until they were weak at the knees last September, to finally releasing his underrated debut album ‘We Have Sound’ earlier this month, it’s been quite a ride. Tonight sees as competent a performance as one could expect in such a large venue, with highlights being recent singles ‘Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes’ and ‘All I Want.’ Reservations remain over the relevance of the band’s apparent interest in injecting a rock sound into proceedings, but we’ll forgive them for now, on the promise that one day there will be a Tom Vek performance here worthy of a note in the history books.

As commendable as the support performance was however, the crowd don’t seem to pay much attention. They’re all here to see the little bald one known as Moby, who believes that they’re all here to see him run incessantly around and around the stage. Everyone knows the story of this lucky bastard who managed to sell out with his breakthrough album ‘Play’ and make a gazillion pounds by placing his music on every advert around at the time. Rather confusingly though, there still appears to be a huge fan base who actually care enough to see him live. The music predominantly comes from backing tracks and there is no attempt at a visual show. Instead, the band seem happy to plod through the hits and some recent album tracks without a care for elaborating on the songs people know from their treasured CD sat on their coffee tables at home. The only rest comes with a small section of music inspired by the late 80’s Dance scene, one which Moby was a huge part of. It’s obvious that in the right place and at the right time, it may have really felt this music could change the world. Now, however, all that remains is a guitarist trying to look like he’s making a contribution, and a rather hollow feeling of nostalgia.

There are other highlights; ‘Porcelain’ is nearly beautiful and the cover of Joy Division’s ‘New Dawn Fades’ is surprisingly enjoyable, but when all is said and done Moby now finds himself irrelevant and seemingly incapable of recreating his former glories in a live setting.

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