On the outskirts of the bearpit situated close to the city's liberally-minded Stokes Croft area, stands a store packed with personality. We go by the name of Loot. Similar to our unconventional surroundings, we offer highly sought-after vintage threads, hand-picked from all over the world. Setting us apart from the rest, we take pleasure in collaborating with musicians, artists and the public to form a significant DIY space where exciting things happen. Today, we're hosting Bedford boy Tom Grennan, whose EP 'Found What I've Been Looking For' reveals the artists true devotion to blues and soul music.
It's the third day of his sold out headline tour, Tom saunters into Loot, half hungover from the night before and half on the hunt for some snacks. "Do you know anywhere I can get some juicy buffalo wings around here?" An interesting start to our conversation but I did later direct him to a couple of local chicken shops. Tom is donning a Fred Perry track jacket paired with his renowned white socks and black patent loafers. He takes one look at the rail of clothes that had been selected for him and his hands are immediately drawn to an Aquascutum mac. "This is sick. I've been after one of these for ages." He pulls it on in anticipation and strolls around the store getting a feel for his new find. It fits him like a glove.
After a quick photoshoot in the Loot studio, Tom takes a seat next to guitarist Danny Connors and, without a screaming crowd or blaring speakers, starts to belt out an acoustic version of his hit track 'Found what I've Been Looking For'. His vocals echoed through the store and flowed out onto the streets, encouraging more people to wander in and identify where the deep, heartfelt sound was coming from. Tom sweetly apologises that it wouldn't be his best performance, due to the preservation of his voice for the show, admitting "I'm giving it but I'm not fully giving it". Yet, for a hungover and hungry chap, his voice appeared as rugged and soulful as ever.
Later on, after some much needed chicken wings, Tom took to the stage at Thekla, an iconic Bristol venue on a boat that hosts a variety of gigs and club nights, which the singer found odd. Resonating directly with the crowd, he uttered "This is mad init. We're on a ship. We're on water." On the lower deck of the historic boat, his performance was no less intimate. Wearing a striped Lacoste polo and black 501’s that he'd nabbed earlier on in store, lit up center stage by a hazy blue light, the singer seemed revitalised and eager to woo his crowd of loyal fans.
Grennan's stage presence proves faultless throughout his set. His demeaner has not only had the 21-year old rubbing shoulders with the likes of Chase and Status but it has also captured the attention of the fastest-selling sports game, FIFA. Tom converses with his audience as if he's down the pub, chatting to an old mate over a beer, "I used to play football when I was younger but I was shit and got dropped. Now my song is on FIFA. It's mad." All the while, the evening came to an atmospheric close with power ballads 'Old Songs' and 'Something in the Water', evoking a powerful melancholy that filled the room with ambience. With a witty, boyish charm, a talent for writing music and the distinct voice to back it up, it looks like 2018 will see Tom Grennan's profile continue to rise.
Tom Grennan tours the UK throughout March 2018. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.seetickets.com/tour/tom-grennan
Pre-order Tom Grennan's upcoming debut album 'Lightning Matches' here: https://store.tomgrennanmusic.com
Words: Dionne Myrianthous
Photography: Chris Ward-Jones
Loot Vintage + Thekla, Bristol
Oh.. and some more snaps: