When a good friend of mine had planned a trip to Vienna to watch TV Smith, it was a no-brainer when he asked if I’d like to join him. Vienna is a little over an hour away from my home in the Czech Republic, and I assume due to the differences in economies many touring acts stop at Vienna rather than here.
I’d never seen the Adverts main man on stage in any form, and to be honest, he’d fallen off my radar for a while so I was intrigued to know what this would be like, and in a venue, I’d never been to before – the Chelsea Club. My friend had informed me that his most recent album ‘Land of the Overdose’ was excellent, so I didn’t let the ‘Chelsea’ nature of the club (the Wi-Fi was Stamford Bridge so it was no accident) put me off.
We entered the club to the sounds of Austrian ska polka ensemble Skolka. Not being a big ska fan myself, I was surprised when I was being unwittingly attracted by their vibrant energy. Before I knew it, I was buying CDs from the groups, enigmatic singer, while my friends were buying T-shirts. Fair play, they were fantastic and absolutely won me over. All that brass and dancing went down a storm and we were a little apprehensive about how one man with his acoustic was going to follow that.
Luckily, the crowd who had fully enjoyed that show remained in the tightly packed, smoky club to witness TV Smith take to the stage. Again, I can admit being a bit ignorant on the Smith front, but I’d recently heard the song ‘Replay’ (from the 2014 album ‘I Delete’) somewhere and loved it. However, it wasn’t until he pulled it out early on in his set that I remembered it was him! It had been lost somewhere to the back of my mind. Truly though, it is a fantastic song and it was immediately obvious that this one guy with a guitar was going toe to toe with an 8-person strong band full of brass.
TV Smith shines with energy, and to prove it he must’ve played for around two hours that night, playing pretty much the new album entirely, alongside numbers cherry-picked from his extensive back catalogue. A party from the off, songs such as the title track of the aforementioned ‘I Delete’ really got the crowd going but of course many will know him for the Adverts songs which he held on to until the end, particularly ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ and ‘Bored Teenagers’. A fantastic night all round, and well worth a trip across the border.