Moles, Bath - 07/07/2023
“You have to lose your voice, and if you walk out of here, not dripping in sweat and with a voice, then you’ve done something wrong and it’s a bad gig.” Thomas Headon is about to launch into the final chorus of his Taylor Swift cover, We Are Never Getting Back Together, at a show much smaller than we’ve got used to seeing him in.
On this Friday night, we’re soaking in the stunning beauty of the city of Bath from Moles, the (quite literally) underground club and music venue in the centre of the city. Following the release of last year’s indie rock influenced Victoria EP, Headon has explained how the cost of promoting and touring that project was so high that this EP run he was going to promote the collection of songs himself, including putting up his own promo posters and driving around the UK for his tour (just sadly not in a 2009 Toyota). Therefore, the tour for the chaotically titled Six Songs Thomas Headon Likes And Thinks You Would Like Too, consisted of six intimate shows across the UK, Bath’s 200 capacity venue being the final stop.
Following an equally as up-beat and sugar-rush induced support set from Arthur Hill, complete with a joke about Freddie Mercury’s favourite condiment, Headon steps onstage at 8:30, which feels weirdly early for a headline set (but I will wholeheartedly embrace a show that doesn’t start too late).
Opening with woozy indie rock track, How Do I Know?, the crowd erupts in exhilarated vocals, jumping around in the pushed for space standing area and giving every attempt at matching Headon’s frantic energy. Much of the same continues for Strawberry Kisses, recent release, 2009 Toyota, and absolute classic for those who have been here long enough to remember Disco Tony, Clean Me Up.
First single from the new EP, Georgia, which was first debuted on Headon’s headline tour at the end of last year, is a moment which sees Headon stay somewhat stiller than the previous numbers thanks to the addition of an acoustic guitar, as well as an unexpected call and response segment conducted by the crowd taking great pleasure in singing the ‘so sweet’ and ‘so goods’. Similarly, I Loved A Boy once was a gut-wrenching observation on heartbreak when debuted last tour, but tonight it’s a celebration and a moment of pure elation, the entire room bouncing and screaming along in unison.
Another stand out moment in tonight’s set is the return of Best Of Both World’s, Headon’s cover of the hit Hannah Montana track, helping himself to his rock and roll moment and showing that he really does know his fanbase well (at the time of writing, I am watching the greatest movie of all time, Hannah Montana: The Movie proving just how on brand this setlist choice is). And speaking of rockstar (a noun Headon has always campaigned to be used in close proximity to his name) moments, the track which has been close to the fans who have been around circa 2021 and has finally been given its official release, Wet Tongue, offers up a much more mature number, whilst still keeping the euphoria alive (just many in the crowd tonight will be hesitant to play this one to their parents when asked how the gig was later).
There’s a moment in the show where Headon brings the bangers to a brief halt, explaining to the crowd that he is now legally obliged to give his bandmates a break mid-show. In the bizarre few minutes, Headon speaks to the crowd over ‘elevator music’, a tune that is likely to give ‘OG’ Thomas fans flashbacks to his questionable weekly life advice on livestreams back in lockdown. Whilst his guitarist, Charles MacDonald can be seen reading a newspaper on his break, Headon takes a moment for a bit of trivia with a guitar pick up for grabs.
Once that’s all over, it’s back to business as usual. Fan-favourite debut EP track, Butterflies, is an emotional moment that always serves as a reminder of how special Thomas Headon’s ever growing fanbase is, as well as a lovely reflection of self-growth (“Forgotten what I used to be but I think I’m happier now, somehow”). Before the final few lines of the track, Headon walks down into the crowd as the front few rows part to make way for him, before stopping in the centre of the pit, the crowd forming a circle around him. Putting his arm around one member of the audience and rotating in the middle, the song is finished with us all together in close proximity to the artist; in a stint that would have been almost impossible on the academies tour of 2022. It feels really special and proves just how important Headon's following is.
Closing out the night is UrbanAngel1999 which is received with more jumping and even higher energy, despite the rising heat. Every word is sung along to and Headon appears to get all the lyrics in and in the correct answer, which feels like a show first. Blowing kisses to the crowd, Headon runs off the stage as a chant is started in the hope of one final song. Sadly, it never comes and fans accept their fate, opting to stand on the picturesque, duskily lit streets and wait for Headon.
Whilst for some fans this tour will feel like an opportunity to see a quick rising star in intimate grass-roots venues, for those who have been around since the release of Headon's first EP (The Greatest Hits EP), it'll feel like the tour that should've happened back in 2020. For that reason, Six Shows By Thomas Headon (or Thomas Headon On Tour) feels like a testament to how far Headon has come and a reminder that no matter how big he gets, he'll always remain true to his roots.