Thomas Dolby, Gig Review. Union Chapel, London.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

There are very few truly unique entities in the world today, everything in the end has it’s time and yet something comes along in which carries on the flame. Not so with the extremely talented, the musical proficiency and singularly matchless Thomas Dolby. Add into a night of inventiveness, the shadowy, almost gothic–like structure and feel of the Union Chapel in Islington and the exceptional film that accompanied the evening and it was quite possibly the finest and most creative night of 2013.

The film, put together by the imagination and intimate memories of Thomas Dolby, The Invisible Lighthouse delved into the heart, the psyche and the past of the maverick musician, so much so that the entire evening should be seen as the first 3D music autobiography, coupled with music supplied from Mr. Dolby’s long career and ably assisted by the fantastic Blake Leyh. The evening, which had the audience tucked into the grandeur and history of Islington almost gasping, as they immersed themselves into Thomas Dolby’s reminisces of his family’s history on the Suffolk coast.

The film showcased how memories are made, the distinction between what you remember and the reality of the situation, the ever-increasing way that land has eroded in the Suffolk fens and how in years to come, this particular lighthouse in which has been part of Thomas Dolby’s life will eventually crumble and fall into the sea, leaving only in time the stories and myths that eventually build up. The music supplied by the two men on stage swept over the audience and sat deep in the hearts of all as they sat mesmerised by the sensation and thought of sea water enveloping all their lives eventually.

With the film and musical score complete and an interesting conversation with host and music legend Tom Robinson, there was enough time for Thomas Dolby to delve into his catalogue with cracking tunes such as Evil Twin Brother and the superb Hyperactive. Special mention must go to the technical crew, headed by musician Tony Turrell, who helped put this tremendous visual and aural spectacle together.

The sound created in the Union Chapel might be hard to replicate as the film is shown around the art houses chosen for the tour but it is an evening that will have crowds asking why this hasn’t been done before, that though is Thomas Dolby all over, a genius of the innovation; a master and maestro of musical modernisation, simply sublime and will be one of the finest things you see during 2013.


Ian D. Hall