November 18, 2005 – Chop Suey – Seattle, WA
by Christopher Mulally
For some reason, the bass player in Tom Vek’s band, James Price, was responsible for setting up and tuning all the instruments before their show. It took him about 45 minutes to set up the drums, tune the guitars and basses, and ready the keys.
Then about 12 midnight, Vek came out on the stage, sat down at the drum set, put some gray headphones over his long blonde hair and started in on a thick, simple beat, with a little snare, a little kick and a persistent high-hat.
The biggest difference between him and the rest of the bands that night was his total lack of emphasis on lead guitar. He spent a majority of the time at the drums, getting up only occasionally to play guitar. For the most part, though, the audience’s attention was on Vek’s voice, which sounded like John Lyndon or Mark E. Smith or David Byrne. There was also a major spotlight one some fucking catchy bass lines, which you can really hear on his latest album, We Have Sound (www.myspace.com/tomvek).
I would possibly compare him to a dance band version of Interpol, or just similar to Bloc Party. It’s rigid, slightly funky and very, very danceable. I have listened to a lot of music recently and out of all, this is one I would actually purchase myself because it is so catchy and cool.
Vek’s entire album was recorded in his dad’s garage. His dad used to be a record mogul, and probably had a residual influence on the fact that Vek was signed at the age of 23 to a major label, and was being worshipped before he even had hair on his chest. This is the guy who has been compared in London, where he is from, to a British version of Beck. (That’s probably just because he looks like him, or maybe because his name rhymes with Beck…who knows.) His album was originally recorded for a small label called Tummy Touch and was later picked up, completely untouched, by Island. So yes, Tom Vek is living the dream.
Take part in the fantasy-turned-reality as Vek’s mini tour through the U.S. continues through November 23. We Have Sound is available now.