It was quite a novel feeling to watch a gig in the bowels of a boat. Never mind that it is approximately six foot from shore and indeed still moored, Bristol's Thekla is a cool little venue, and was rammed for the appearance of Teddy Thompson.
The advancing years of many of the audience members suggested that more than a handful of Thompson's followers learnt about him through his parents - folksters Richard and Linda Thompson - and they would perhaps have been pleased enough with his non-threatening, MOR folk-pop. The problem though was that there was a serious lack of dynamism about his set, which made it seem as though it was going on FOREVER, as one moderately pleasant mid-tempo effort followed another. Also, Thompson's lyrics often tend to be somewhat cheesy. His words about a beautiful girl in a beautiful world or whatever, were painful, especially considering that, between songs, his banter offered the perfect dissection of self-deprecation and slight smugness that proved to be genuinely amusing. If he could pour more of this wit into his lyrics, it would add some desperately needed edge.
In complete contrast, support act (and temporary member of Thompson's band) David Ford combined political anger with a sense of bloody-minded romance across a varied set that showcased how one-man, a load of instruments and a loop pedal can make an awesome noise. There were plenty of songs from his latest album, while the bile-fuelled State Of The Union from his debut still bursts with life even after all these years. "What a model of Christian behaviour/Preach on with the message of Go Fuck Thy Neighbour," he spat, as furious and intense as the first time he ever sang it. Elsewhere, lovely piano ballads To Hell With The World and Song For The Road were also highlights in a 45-minute performance which proved, again, that Ford is one of the most underrated performers in England today.
Review by Rob Townsend.