Somewhere between the Bags for Life, resenting snoring lovers, and hastily scoffing down a bag of crisps in the staff room, is the arresting appeal and discreetly contemporary lyricism of Richard Dawson.
The Toon troubadour sounds like few others and brought his big talent to the Big Room of Brighton’s Komedia on Wednesday, November 20.
The singer songwriter’s compelling current clump of singular songs are located at the melodic but experimental end of folk-pop and he found himself in the enviable position of touring an album full of tracks that a ramped up, and at times a little too adoring, crowd were baying to hear.
Accordingly, the set lent heavily on his sixth long-player 2020, an impressive musical Play for Today, which has built on his trademark agreeably discordant sound and, at times very funny, slice-of-life narratives.
Dawson, a massively likeable little fella with a huge voice, has swapped the cranked up acoustic of early days for a tasty red electric, and was backed by a beefy and energetic rhythm section.
He began with intent in the shape of 2020’s opening track, the forceful ‘Civil Service’, the most melodramatic slice of mundanity you’ll hear this side of being strapped down in a call centre while being forced to listen to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on a loop.
‘Two Halves’ was a hummable take on the occasionally beautiful game, a dizzying post-match post-mortem without the clichés, and featured the beautiful lines: ‘Stop fannying around! Keep it nice and simple! You’re not Lionel Messi‚ just pass the bl**dy ball!”
The easy, narrative-style was in full flow for ‘Heart Shaped Emoji’, an ever-so modern but timeless love song of badly-poured pints, squashed slugs and Cash Converters, which the ever self-effacing songwriter prefaced by saying something to the effect of: ‘If you were on the fence about the new album this could be the one to say you’re not in favour of it.”
‘Jogging’ is a track that isn’t a million miles away from anthemic, but few pop anthems tackle anxiety and include a plea for the police to tackle racial harassment.
He also said he didn’t write his songs and they were more like lifeforms and they made themselves known if they wanted to be heard.
Let’s hope they keep on making themselves heard.