Tom Verlaine - Night & Day Manchester - 31.7.06

Forever in the Top 100 albums of all time polls and the bands that influenced the likes of The Strokes and Razorlight, Television will perhaps always be a connoisseurs or critics choice rather than a band of the people as this correspondent for Designer Magazine is yet to meet a casual music fan who claims to own one of their albums. It says a lot though that every single one of the dozen or so people knew who they were and had an idea of what they sound like, but that apart that fact they've received the patronage of several of the young pups of the music scene very few new fans are out tonight for a rare UK tour from former Television member Tom Verlaine.

If anything though tonight would have been the wrong setting altogether to experience Tom Verlaine as there are little similarities between his solo material and that of his former band. As a fan of prog rockers Porcupine Tree i'm all for extended solos and instrumental tracks lasting close to 10 minutes, and for much of tonight's set this is what we get off Verlaine, and while technically it's unlikely he'll ever be called a virtuoso he manages to wring out eerily atmospheric noises out of his guitar that really shouldn't work, but are completely fitting. It doesn't matter that the performance element is nigh on untraceable, for this is about two men on stage making music and we're merely watching in on their world with Verlaine admitting several times that this is the first time they've played songs so it's nothing more than a rehearsal.

The only problems arises when it comes to naming the songs as with a meandering ever flowing structure it becomes harder to review than your average Forward Russia gig, but what's apparent is this is about one night in one town with a set of songs that are indelibly linked to the rest of the set but change each and every night depending on the mood of the evening. While Verlaine is certainly an man of a certain age that makes full albums rather than a collection of singles for the IPOD shuffle generation you
leave with the sense of wouldn't it be amazing to compare each night of the tour as a downloadable option and see how the structure's and arrangements differ throughout.

Designer Magazine left tonight not thinking we'd seen one of the best gigs of our lives, but we did leave thinking we'd seen an incredible musician who has managed to develop rather than standing still throughout his career. This really was a muso's paradise.

Alex McCann