Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Tim Vantol @ The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted about a specific gig on my blog. I used to write a blog post with an assortment of photos after every show I went to, but now I go to a lot more gigs. Plus, I have Instagram for sharing my bad gig photography! BUT, last night I went to a gig that was just a little bit special. Special firstly because it was in my hometown, Milton Keynes, at the Craufurd Arms and secondly because it was a free show that I certainly would have paid good money to go and see.

My parents and I went to see Chuck Ragan in London about a month ago (you may recall this blog post about the poster I bought at the show). Supporting Chuck Ragan was a guy from the Netherlands with an acoustic guitar and one hell of a voice – Tim Vantol. Personally, I had heard of him before the Chuck show, as I knew he’d been on the Revival Tour with Chuck and co. before, but I had never actually listened to him. He wowed us there and then with his passionate acoustic (but certainly not quiet) music. And so it was when I was posting my gig pictures to Instagram later that night, and had started following Tim, that I discovered he was going be playing in Milton Keynes about a month later.

Milton Keynes, and the Craufurd Arms, always seems like an odd choice for bands to stop on their tours of the UK but I’m grateful that some artists do stop by. Even though I don’t live in Milton Keynes anymore, and Bedford does have a fairly decent music scene of its own, it was nice to return to my hometown for a spot of live music on a Tuesday night. So, along with my parents, I had an awesome time watching Tim Vantol play his heart out in the bar area of the pub. Tim had brought his band along for the ride this time too. And even though they were playing for a rather tiny audience – there can’t have been more than 20 people – it didn’t stop them from playing super enthusiastically.

Although I always take a few photographs, I have never been one to record videos at a gig. I always assume they’d come out rubbish or that I’m too far away or too short to film anything decent. Besides, I can’t be bothered to hold my phone still for 3 minutes when I could be bopping along to the music and singing along. However, given that there were so few people in the Craufurd Arms last night and I had the prime spot standing in front of the stage without anyone blocking my view, it was the perfect opportunity to film a little gig video. Plus, Tim and the band played two very different cover songs…

I didn’t catch the song from the beginning and only really filmed this snippet to share with my friend, Kat, who took me to see the Old Crow Medicine Show last year. I was surprised by how well this came out. I should have stayed filming a bit longer as the guitarist pulled off a magnificent solo. You’ll have to take my word for it.

Before playing Wagon Wheel, Tim had asked if anyone knew who OCMS were – I did, as did a few others. A few songs later, he asked if anyone knew who Against Me! were. To which I responded with an excited ‘Yes!’, whilst everyone else in the room remained quiet. They then proceeded to play one of my favourite AM! songs, Sink Florida Sink. Again, not the whole song as I wanted to enjoy it with my own eyes and ears, rather than through my iPhone. (I posted a clip of this video on Instagram/Twitter and got a favourite from AM! singer Laura Jane Grace herself – plus Tim!)

After the show, I knew that I had to tell Tim how brilliant the covers were – as well as the whole set in general – even if it was a little daunting to speak to a musician I admire. I bought a copy of his newest album on vinyl and my dad bought the first album on CD. We chatted to him for what seemed like far longer than we perhaps should have done! I said we’d seen him with Chuck last month and mum told him I was educating my parents in good music. Not strictly true as they’re already very well educated. Tim wanted to know what was good in Milton Keynes, so we told him about the greenery and parks, and then he gave mum some tourist tips for Amsterdam in exchange.

All-in-all, he was such a lovely guy and seemed genuinely pleased to be playing in Milton Keynes – he had noticed the excessive amount of roundabouts, by the way, if you were wondering. I’ve never been brave enough or had enough to say to a musician at a show before, but I’m pleased that last night I did. I look forward to seeing Mr. Vantol again someday soon…

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