TVD Live Shots: Tom Meighan at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 5/4

Who doesn’t love a good comeback? Former Kasabian lead singer Tom Meighan returned to London for a night of new music and celebrated Brit-rock classics. Having parted ways after more than two decades with one of the most successful British rock bands, he’s back with new music, a new band, a new attitude, and the same swagger and flamboyance that made him one of the most exciting frontmen of our time. With two new singles under his belt and a massive groundswell of support from his incredibly dedicated fanbase, Meighan is about to make a statement to the industry with a new album that’s shaping up to be an absolute banger. 

The legendary Shepherds Bush Empire is a proper stage and gorgeous venue for this over-the-top production. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a glorious light show in an “intimate” venue of this size. Tom and company blasted through seventeen songs that leaned heavily into the Kasabian catalog while gracefully mixing in the new solo material. Interestingly enough, the new songs sound more like Kasabian than the new Kasabian songs do. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s just a different approach. Tom’s songs feel much more organic and more familiar to longtime fans while his ex-bandmate Serge seems to be taking Kasabian in a completely new direction. They’ve always been known to experiment, but the new stuff is a significant departure.

The standout of the evening was the stellar delivery of the latest single “Let it Ride,” which is one of the best rock songs I’ve heard in years and could easily fit into the Kasabian classics. It’s remarkable to me that Meighan has a knack for writing verses and pre-choruses that are catchier than the chorus itself. There are not too many songwriters on the planet that are capable of that. It’s an interesting twist in many cases and a clear differentiator for him as he embarks on his solo career. Other new songs including “Movin On,” “Out of the World,” and “Sunshine” sounded fresh and vibrant while “Would You Mind” gave the crowd a breather as Meighan shared his story of self-reflection through the incredibly personal song.

While I love the new material, the roof was completely blown off the venue when the Kasabian songs came up to bat. “Shoot the Runner,” “L.S.F.,” a blistering version of “Club Foot,” and a booming encore of “Fire” had every single fucking person in the room jumping up and down at maximum capacity. Beers flying through the air, fans singing at the top of their lungs, and an actual pit or two forming briefly showcased the power of the music and the frontman who can deliver.

It’s going to be an interesting Summer for Meighan as his posts across social media point to this as “just the beginning.” My guess is a bigger European tour, and a few festival appearances which will all set up a new album in the Fall. Or maybe he will just drop a full album out of nowhere. Either way, watch this space as Meighan is back, and he’s got plenty left to say.

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