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GIG
TOM ROBINSON BAND
SHINJUKU LOFT 6th September

Vinyl Japan

For his Japanese fans, having Tom Robinson and his band back in town is like welcoming back an old friend. There is a slow influx of people when the doors open but by showtime there is a healthy crowd, many of them wearing TRB T-shirts of old, some buying new ones and a few homemade in true Punk tradition. It’s great, it’s friendly and the promoter has chosen wisely with the venue. It feels, just slightly, like England in the late seventies.

 

TRB open with a classic which throws us back to that era. The band are jetlagged but on fine form, tight but not so much as to be clinical, that same feeling that his original band had when he was slogging around the UK in his Pub Rock days. He speaks to the audience in Japanese, cracks a joke and then goes into the next song. It’s a pattern that continues throughout the night, story/joke – a bit of Japanese – next song and his fans show their appreciation for his efforts with singalong moments and audience participation. We all join in for Martin, with some fans holding up cards as they did on his first tour here in 1979.

 

It's surprising how many songs you know and even the not-so-familiar ones somehow feel familiar; that’s great song-writing.  Vocally, you would never guess Tom was in his seventies now. His voice has matured but it still has the same expression it has always had. It’s instantly recognisable and has feeling and passion, whether singing, paying respects to people who are no longer with us or introducing us to his band. The man is genuine, in whatever he sings or says.

 

Above all else though, it’s just a fun night. Tom has a good time as do the band. He smiles a lot, not taking himself very seriously onstage even though his lyrics are very serious subjects. Mistakes are laughed off (ending the first set too early), he calls himself an ojisan (old man) and the night culminates in Tom doing his parody of a right-wing Japanese politician, complete with a hachimaki, halfway through Power In The Darkness. The audience lap it up and as the band take their last bow, exit stage left and the houselights go on, you get the feeling that it won’t be long before Japan’s old friend will be back.

 

First Set

Winter Of ‘79

Bully For You

Hope And Glory

Atmospherics: Listen to the Radio 

Martin

Still Loving You

Grey Cortina

Patience (Lee Forsyth Griffiths song)

The Mighty Sword Of Justice

War Baby

Second Set

Hold Out (solo acoustic)

Spain

Rikki Don’t Lose That Number

Too Good To Be True

Glad To Be Gay

2-4-6-8 Motorway

Encore

Up Against The Wall

I Shall Be Released

Power In The Darkness

Tom Robinson interview
https://www.writerinjapan.com/tom-robinson-2022


 

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ALBUM
CATS IN SPACE
KICKSTART THE SUN

Harmony Factory

My most played album of 2020 was Atlantis and when Cats In Space announced their new release earlier this year, I wondered if they could possibly come up with something as good, let alone surpass it. Suffice to say, they have surpassed Atlantis in that Kickstart The Sun is a double (with a bonus disc so effectively a triple), includes an epic and has a set of songs that you’ll be once again singing and humming along to on the third listen. This band just doesn’t know how to run out of great hooks and ideas.

 

The album starts with a short multi-layer intro and then we are off into what the Cats do best, namely pure Classic Rock, right out of the seventies. King Of Stars is simply gorgeous and throws everything you want into the mix, the way the individual segments link together is sublime, breath-taking even. On Atlantis, new singer Damien Edwards fitted into the existing songs whereas on this album, he has contributed more which in turn has helped push the band a bit further, particularly with the backing vocals which float and haunt throughout the album. It moves fast, you’ll be just catching the delights and nods of appreciation to the past of one song before the next one kicks in and then you’re off again. This album ladies and gentlemen, is as good as it gets.

 

The production is a hi-fi audio delight. Every part has clarity and space, every solo, bass line, keyboard tinkle and drum fill exactly where it should be in the mix, every sound and part beautifully chosen for the song and the mix works just as well at low volume as it does at deafening – that’s a rarity in itself these days. The two discs come housed in a digipak with a 24-page booklet and artwork once again by Andy Kitson, which looks even better in the full 12” vinyl packaging.

 

I defy any lover of good Rock music to dislike this album. It is just so good in so many ways with a set of songs that fill a double album without wasting a single second. This is no throwaway download; it is music to be bought, invested in, explored, absorbed, enjoyed and then played ad infinitum. In twenty or thirty years from now, you’ll be preaching to your kids and grandkids about Queen, ELO, Elton John, Mott the Hoople, David Bowie….and Cats In Space.

 

Track List

Kickstart The Sun - Intro

King Of Stars

Poke The Witch

Teenage Millionaires

Goodbye To The American Dream

1,000,000 Miles

Fifty-One Pillow Bed

Charlie's Ego

Kickstart The Sun

A Big Balloon

Smoke & Mirrors

Hero

Last Dance Saloon

Bootleg Bandoleros

Kickstart The Sun – reprise

Bonus Disc

Charlie's Ego - 'turbo' version

1,000,000 Miles - Duet ft. Julie 'The Duchess" Maguire

King of Stars - Rock Edit

Goodbye To The American Dream - Extended

Atlantis - Live at RAK

I Fell Out of Love With Rock 'n' Roll - Live at RAK

1,000,000 Miles - Live at RAK

Bootleg Bandoleros - instrumental

Last Dance Saloon - instrumental

King Of Stars - instrumental