Ought – The Garage, London – 24th April 2018

Photo by Christian Middleton

Tim Darcy is something else when he comes out on stage at The Garage in London. There are certain frontmen that stand out and their music is simply an extension of them. Tim Darcy is one of those. A character and an intriguing man, someone who you wonder what they’re like in a day to day scenario. A glimpse of him plugging in a microphone before the set is enough to ignite the crowd.

Their latest album Room Inside the World saw a contrast of direction and sound; things had gone a bit new wave. The songs were slightly more straightforward but still unmistakably Ought. The core personality of the band is still embedded in there, just in a new set of clothes. It’s like the tight and tense Ought from the previous albums had been relaxed and stretched out, sounding more produced than they have ever done.

It’s hard not to get lost in Tim Darcy on stage, he’s incredibly captivating to watch, more so to listen to. Opening with ‘Into the Sea’ his performance is gripping. One that doesn’t feel like a performance, more his method of delivering the songs the right way. Their live set up leaves nothing to hide behind, not that there needs to be. You can hear every slight detail coming through; every vocal inflection, every hit string of the guitars, it’s what makes the band so exciting live. The bare bones nature of their live set up give the songs a sense of vulnerability. ‘These 3 Things’ is particularly powerful. Room Inside the World showed us a new vocal style for the band and when Darcy hits the chorus of: “Will I hear my soul” he hits it perfectly and it’s a bellow that fills up the room.

The amount that Tim Darcy throws into his vocal performance is outstanding. He gives everything he’s got, singing as though all the feelings in his songs are still fresh for him. Each song is so passionate on record and there’s even more passion in his live performances. Feeling every single bit of the songs, between numbers it’s as though he remembers where he is, coming back into the room again. You’re never going to get anyone that just digs a couple of songs, it’s all or nothing. There’s so much emotion you just want more and more of them.

Things really go up a notch when they start breaking into material from Sun Coming Down. ‘Men for Miles’ changes the pace of everything and the room suddenly becomes more alive. ‘Habit’ and ‘Beautiful Blue Sky’ make for odd singalong choices. I would never expect a singalong at an Ought show yet I find myself, along with everyone else, joining in for: “I’m no longer afraid to die, cause that is all that I have left. Yes!” They thrive on this and you can see Darcy relishing these moments.

The night peaks at the very end during its encore. After closing on ‘Alice’ the band walk back on and tear into ‘Today, More Than Any Other Day’. It’s the definitive Ought song and would be the biggest disappointment had they not played it. The room doesn’t erupt into jumping about, it isn’t that kind of night. Everyone is stood motionless, soaking in the band in their own way. On reflection, Ought’s show felt like more than just seeing a band play. The amount that they put into each show feels like something that’ll be unique every evening, taking a different form on different nights. Other venues will get a similar experience but never one the exact same.

Chris Middleton

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