Fickle Friends – Live At The Wedge pt I
Me, Kristian Eveleigh, and Laura Quinn were leaning with our backs up against a brick wall waiting for Tom Millichamp to arrive with our concert tickets. Fickle Friends were playing at the Wedge that night, and I was really looking forward to it because the week had been stressful, I just wanted a dance! Tom bought the tickets for us meaning he had them on his person, so we were relying on him not to be late. Cheeky sod was only about half an hour late, making us wait in the cold air of Albert Road with tobacco supplies running low. With my lack of baccy in mind, I asked Kris to roll me a fag while I nipped into Subway for a piss, and by the time I walked outside Tom had finally arrived and was standing next to his girlfriend and a couple of his other mates. He noticed me and gave me a big old lads cuddle before rallying us all up to move to the venue. Tom Millichamp was buzzing that night, and he wasn’t even drinking. I think his intentions were the same as mine; to forget about the week behind us and lose ourselves in just a small moment of our lives as we stand amongst a crowd of people listening to music. I looked at my mates, and I knew within me that tonight was gonna be a fucking laugh.
“If I go, then I’ll be alone”
When I first met Tom he seemed like a lad’s lad, a sound geezer. My horrible habit of passing judgement got the better of me, because my first instinct wasn’t to like him, but to just not care about him. Tom was good mates with Kristian, I actually thought they were related when I first met both of them. The first thing Tom ever said to me was “Aww mate happy birthday” because the first day of college was also my birthday. I thought he was nice, but at the same time I guess you could say I felt slightly intimidated by him; he carried himself with confidence, and spoke with a smoky, relaxed tone. Cool dude, really chillaxed, man. I thought to myself “damn, I wish I was like that at 16”. It wasn’t until we finally got into a rehearsal room together that I realised just how special this kid is; Tom knows his way around a Stratocaster, and is an incredibly gifted vocalist. The movement of his fingers around the neck of the guitar is swift like he was buttering bread, and by god that boy’s got a nice set of pipes on him (that sounded less dirty in my mind).
Over the few months we’ve known each other, I’ve grown to really admire Tom, actually no, I’ve grown to love the kid; he deserves what he works towards, Tom works tirelessly and has completely poured himself into his music. He’s invested so much time, so much energy, and so much of his own money into building himself up as an artist; from funding recording time, promotion, gigs, and even an entire music video, there’s something really beautiful about that sort of dedication, and for that I salute the boy! But its more than just investing yourself into something, a lot of the time you actually have to bring something to the table. Talent is usually required from you if a name in lights is what you desire, and for Tom Millichamp? Well, there’s no issue there, let me fucking tell you that.
Fickle Friends – Live At The Wedge pt II
After getting my drink confiscated from the bouncers at the door, we made our way into the main room where the crowd was already listening to Arcade Hearts, one of the opening acts. The first thing we picked up on was the fact that nobody seemed to be dancing; the closest thing we saw to dancing in that massive bloody room was a few heads bopping up and down in sync with the flow of the songs. The music was actually really great, so we couldn’t for the life of us think up any excuse as to why these people shouldn’t be dancing at the moment. Awkward moments of looking for a good spot to stand in a huddle and bop our heads up and down for a few hours hours passed, and we finally immersed ourselves into the crowd. All I could see were the lights on the stage illuminating the artists, believe me I wish I could see in that room a lot more than I could smell, for within the air of the Wedge was the aroma of body odour, stale lager, and dry ice. But we weren’t there to smell the crowd, we were here to get lively. I can remember turning to Tom, who was still wearing a fat grin on his face, and asking him why he seemed so upbeat. Beneath the echo of the music, he said that he’d just come from Quay West studios, where he, his manager, producer, and his family watched the premier of his music video for his single ‘If I’, and was ecstatic at how it had all turned out. By looking into Tom’s eyes that night, and seeing just how happy he was that something he’d worked on for so long had all fallen into place, I thought to myself that maybe dreams do come true.
“My mind feels heavy but theres no room on your shoulders”
Sometimes I find it difficult to sit down and try to describe what an artist sounds like, its hard to put my thoughts into words (which is really awful considering I’m a writer). When it comes to Tom, there’s something unique about his playing style in that its nothing I’ve never heard before, but it differs in terms of complexity. Chord progressions, while not necessarily original, are complimented with improvisations arpeggiated without discomfort. He may not have the highest range in music, but I would go on to say that his smoky, Amstel-stained vocals are some of the best I’ve ever heard. Another thing worth mentioning is Tom’s lyrical content; they speak directly from within and from experience, which you can instantly tell when you meet him and he starts talking about his music. Acoustic/indie folk, or just indie pop if I had to put a name to it. Definitely a sound that, if I’m honest, I’m not a huge listener of.
‘If I’ is Tom Millichamp’s latest single, and it was released 26th of April after recording it in August last year. The video was filmed in October last year, and from there it was all a matter of waiting; setting up promotion, and preparing for the opportune moment of release. Bloody brilliant that he released it just before summer, because let me tell you that song is a fucking bop, the perfect summer song. Starting off slow with a cool, emotional, and chilled out opening verse, until suddenly erupting into a lively explosion of chorus complete with a fresh and bouncy accompaniment of drums and bass. Its as catchy as it is really quite a beautiful song. If I is something you can dance to with your mates at a gathering, as well as something you could just drone out to by yourself in your room. Relatable, and stylishly achieved with excellence. Whether it be in a recording studio, in a music video, on stage, or in his bedroom with Garageband, its clear that Tom is a bloody musical maverick.
Of course I was gonna interview him.
*The beer garden of Lord John Russell, Albert Road, ten minutes after Tom Millichamp had performed a set. I think he was a little nervous to be interviewed, bless him.*
“Tom Millichamp, how you doing tonight?”
“I’m alright thanks mate, how are you?”
“I’m alright mate, now pretty much right you’ve just performed a set here at The Lord John Russell, how’d you think it went?”
“Yeah it was really good mate, yeah. Enjoyed it a lot, I’m a little tired though, but it all went really well, played some new songs”
“Would you comment critically on it at all?”
“I would have tried to play it all on my Fender instead of swapping to acoustic. But I think thats just gotta happen, been playing for about 45 minutes so I had to do some covers too.
“Are you proud of the songs you picked?”
“Oh yeah definitely mate, I proper thought about it for this gig actually, because its mostly young people. I wasn’t gonna play Wonderwall or something”
“So you’ve just released your new single “If I”, how have you reacted to the response from your listeners?”
“Its been alright, innit? *Laughs* There was a lot of preparation so I’m just happy it hasn’t gone downhill. But yeah I am very proud of it, its my little baby so…”
“What’s the song about?”
Just shit break ups really. Thats all there is to it, shit break ups. You get songs that are like made up, but nah its just a shit break up”
“Who would you say your influences are?”
“Uh well, its mostly lesser known artists. But people like Sam Fender, Tom Grennan, they’re the type of people I listen to. I really like a lot of dark-pop as well, so like Swimming Girls, people like that”
“What do you want for yourself in the future?”
“I just wanna write songs. I just wanna write songs like Kris does” *gestures to Kris, who’s sat next to us*
Kris: “oH I kNoW tHaT Guy! He’s REALLY nICe Ya know! I mEt Him oNCe He’s GoT ThIs bLOndE hAIR, and a SOUNDCLOUD pAge, Its KRISTIAN EVELEIGH!!!! YOU shOUld LoOk iT up!!!!!!”
“Kris I’ve already done you, fuck off”
*Kris cannot contain his laughter*
“Tom, last two questions. You ready?”
(I don’t think he meant to say it like that)
“What does music mean to you?”
“Its more like what it is to me, its just always there, always been there. Its part of me, its just a second nature to me now. Couldn’t imagine life without music”
“Tom Millichamp, who’s your favourite member of Westlife?”
Kris: Robbie’s in Take That you fucking twat
Went to see Tom play last night, thats where I interviewed him. I stood at the front with Kris, and Tom’s girlfriend Ella. I’m not gonna put Tom on a pedestal and say that he’s the most amazing artist to ever exist and that we should all be on our knees worshipping him, because it wouldn’t be true.
When you watch an artist perform their heart out in front of an audience, breaking themselves away from their usual state, its almost as if the real version of them has just been revealed to you, and that the person you see walking on the streets is just a person wearing a mask. Tom Millichamp played beautifully, no doubt about that. His heart bled into every lyric, every chord, and every melody he played. Its more than just the fact that he’s a mate to me, if I had no idea who he was I’d still be writing this post. Tom succeeds in charisma, songwriting, musicianship, and is just in general a pretty alright bloke, so check his music out why don’t you?
ps: If I is available on Spotify, and the music video is up on YouTube now my dudes!