T.V. Smith


A lovely little surprise greets me as I head into Aatma on Thursday night. I’ve only ever been here on metal nights so the acoustic sounds of Joe Smith, who I can only presume is the son of the headliner we’re here to see, gets me settled straight away. The lights are brighter than usual and it hasn’t heated up yet but the Red Stripe is already flowing.

Joe Smith is young but his impressive falsetto and clever, poetical lyrics get me watching pretty quickly. We’re treated to covers from his dad’s youth – The Beach Boys et al – and his dad’s cheering him on, front and centre throughout. Sorry to use the cliche but it’s a family affair.

Harvey’s Rabbit are up next. A throwback to happy punk times, the anti-establishment lyrics are complemented with some impressive guitar work and tambourines. Everyone loves a tambourine. They’re a little unsure as they set off but they soon find their groove and we enjoy smiling along to funny, intelligent punk.

Then we’re into the headliner.

T.V Smith is punk royalty. Starting his music career with The Adverts in the late 1970s and going on to form T.V Smith’s Explorers, then Cheap, he’s been a much adored singer songwriter on the punk scene for almost four decades. He’s also done his fair share of solo work, and this tour, as the show starts off, seems to be his showing the world some new songs,

Opening with a quip about “Thanks for not going to see Ed Sheeran instead of me”, Smith is straight in with the beautiful ‘March of the Giants’, a request from someone in the audience and we set the tone.

The evening is full of repetitive, catchy melodies, wonderful insights into the works of a brilliant musical mind and indeed life. Smith starts each and every song with a description of how he conceived the track and launches straight into the first line mid sentence – it’s a delight to watch.

The erraticness of the guitar on new track ‘We Stand Alone’ creates a real stomper of a song – an homage to modern living, contemplating mobile phones and ring tones. ‘No Control’ is a throw back to activism punk and Smith starts to relive the songs he wrote 41 years ago (he’s 62 now, he tells us).

His gurning face accompanies lovely melodies juxtaposed with dark, thoughtful lyrics through ‘Desperate’, ‘The Immortal Reef’ as well as some throw backs to The Adverts through the evening and we end on a high.

Thanks Timothy, what a show.

T.V. Smith: Official | Facebook