TOY at The Wardrobe, Leeds 26.11.2016


Perfect timing to see TOY play live after the recent release of their third album “Clear Shot” on Heavenly Recordings 28th October and recommended as Rough Trade Records album of the month in November.

After applying more eyeliner than usual, because I didn’t want to be outdone by the band, I was secretly disenchanted to discover that none of the band were wearing any that evening. However, singer/guitarist Tom Dougall, wore his trademark black roll-neck jumper, tight black jeans and Chelsea boots and the rest of the band dressed all in black; more than compensated for that. TOY have such a great timeless image.

I had been looking forward to seeing this band again so much and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I was hooked immediately on their opening, title track “Clear Shot”. The sound was incredible, the hairs  literally stood up on my neck and arms, it was electric. Instantly, it was really noticeable that shoe-gazing Tom was flanked by two headbanging, energetic guitarists. On Tom’s right, lead guitarist Dominic O’Dair, who I found absolutely spellbinding to watch…that guy knows how to play a guitar and captivate the audience! Maxim ‘Panda’ Barron on Tom’s left, personality shone though, you could tell how much he enjoyed playing live. Occasionally he jumped down from the stage into a very appreciative young crowd, who surrounded him. Max Oscarnold, the most recent member of the band, energetically played the keyboards and Charlie Salvidge played the drums with lots of passion at the back of the set. TOY were absolutely faultless, they were so tight as a unit but each band member had their own aura and presence and all really linked together.

Their sound was immediately engaging, melodic but extremely infectious. Moody and atmospheric, switching between calm and chaos instantaneously. Tom with his gentle melancholia, matter-of-fact lyrics were complimented by Dominic’s outstandingly hypnotic, atmospheric layers of sound. The tonal variation between the band members was really nicely balanced out… you really couldn’t fault them. For each song, the music and anticipation just built and built and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better it increased another level to a dramatic crescendo. “Dream Ochestrator” concluded the breathtaking thirteen-track set.

This was the ultimate gig for me, going to see a guitar band that just blew you away. TOY were incredible and faultless and I really can’t wait to see them again.

They impressed me so much that evening that I bought their CD on the way out…I haven’t stopped listening to it. My favourite tracks are “I’m Still Believing” and “Dream Orchestrator”.

Until the next adventure…


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