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Tokyo Tea Room – The Quarterhouse, Folkestone 30.11.2019 Live Review

Melting Vinyl brought local talent to the fore as it showcased a set by Tokyo Tea Room on the day of their latest EP release, ‘Dream Room’. In the Creative Quarter of Folkestone, The Quarterhouse not only played host to Canterbury’s finest exponents of Psych-Pop but also refreshing new talent in the form of fellow Kent resident Libbie Norton and more Psychedelic explorations from South London’s Imperial Daze.

Tokyo Tea Room

L Norton kicked off the evening with her blend of sophisticated Electro hued tunes, asking the audience to “be kind, it’s only my third show.” In her DMs and pleather dress she strutted the stage with the ease and grace of a seasoned performer. Accompanied by her drummer and a backing track, she played out a well received, succinct set of subtly soulful songs including her biggest tune to date, ‘Won’t Stop’.

Imperial Daze were the South London filler in the Kent sandwich and they went down a treat. With a blend of soft-Psych, Dream-Pop and even a hint of Prog-Rock they proved a great band to have been chosen to support Tokyo Tea Room. The all male quartet delivered up a string of polished songs including a new track from an EP due out next year, ‘Darling Bud Of The Nation’, a hypnotic ‘Minding The Haze’ and a slightly more pointed ‘Work’. The multi-national band formed in a South-London commune were note perfect through some funky basslines, hook-laden keys and intricate guitar passages that more than set the stage for the night’s headliners.

The buzz and expectation that surrounds Canterbury’s Tokyo Tea Room continues to build. From starting out in 2014 to being championed by the likes of BBC Introducing and 6Music, TTR have honed their understated soundscapes into mesmeric and memorable slices of Psyche-Pop. Tonight’s headliners looked every bit the fully formed band as they once again took to the Quarterhouse stage. Having played here as part of the ‘This Is Psych’ event earlier in the year Tokyo Tea Room have a receptive and appreciative audience on their doorstep in Folkestone.

For tonight’s show, planned to coincide with the launch of their latest four-track EP, the band picked up with collaborative visual artists, Innerstrings. Having worked together very successfully for the same Psych event at The Quarterhouse the decision to continue the association must have been an easy one. The combination of the soft Psych musical arrangements paired with the manipulated live psychedelic projections and Beth Plumb’s individual vocal worked brilliantly. At times it was a tricky choice as to whether to watch the stunning visuals that were being captured and enhanced by the performance or the actual performers themselves.

Tokyo Tea Room arrived on stage to their introductory music and then eased us into to their set with the gentle and dreamy ‘Designer’. The ever so slightly more percussively lead ‘In The Moment’ followed with Beth’s vocal cutting through as the Daniel Elliott’s guitar provided the revolving loop with both band members sharing screen time as the projections shone out behind them. Another unreleased track ‘Summon Your Love’ headed up the last track on their EP, ‘Always Tomorrow’. The slowly creeping bass-line, softly stretched vocals and near felt-like guitar sounded wonderful in The Quarterhouse.

The lead track from the EP ‘Things Are Changing’ saw a change in the visual projection style as the art work from the original single release was used as the backdrop to the performance. The Electro leaning Dream-Pop came in layered waves as it built and broke with its mildly undulating rhythms and velvetine vocal. ‘Feel’ and ‘Half The Man’ closed out the main set before the band came back on for a very welcome two track encore. Tokyo Tea Room finished on a high with another new track being given its live debut, ‘For The First Time’, and finally ‘Forever Out Of Time.’

Tokyo Tea Room put on a great show at The Quarterhouse as they launched their latest EP. The musicianship was faultless, Beth’s voice was a delight and the added visual enhancements worked very well indeed. A band that are definitely on the way up.

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