Just What You Need

Teddy Thompson
Kings Cross Scala, London
Thursday, October 2nd 2008

Can you be too good at something? It’s a question I find myself considering at the Scala last Thursday as Teddy Thompson, immaculately clad in a well-cut suit, works his way through the majority of the excellent A Piece of What You Need.

Thompson delivers a tight, muscular set, played through a face contorted with a restrained intensity. His professionalism permeates into his immediate surroundings; in the (largely) mature, respectable crowd, only once do I see the bane of most gigs – the camera phone – reveal itself in a brief flurry of flashes to snatch stick figure images of Thompson playing metres away. Even the majestic Kings Cross venue bows, the air-con circulating while Thompson and his similarly suited and booted backing band demonstrate exquisite musical craftsmanship onstage.

In between such hits as Separate Ways, The Things I Do and A Piece of What You Need, Thompson reveals a wry, sardonic humour. Completing the encore with set-opener In My Arms ("just like in Motown"), Thompson ends the night as strong as he starts.

But while I hear a strong and resonant set, my companion finds Thompson’s technical aptitude "too clinical, too production line." Well - say what you like about Teddy Thompson, but he sure does run a tight ship.

words: Martina Booth