Whilst in London to catch an old favorite, Alison Moyet, I got the opportunity to see a new favorite: Welsh artist Rod Thomas, known commercially as Bright Light Bright Light. At 30ish he straddles two generations but his stage name is all Gen X, inspired by photosensitive Gizmo from the 1984 film Gremlins. I suppose it’s a humbler (though not untrue) way to say ‘looky here! mega-watt talent!‘ It’s fitting I’m experiencing my first Bright Light x2 show in the tiny basement of Sebright Arms, a cozy pub in London’s East End.
I missed the first opening act, but I was fortunate to catch the second: vocalist, loop station maestro and ukulele player Minny Blue. I discovered later that she collaborates with Rod, sings back-up and is in fact the first and last voice you’ll hear on the new Bright Light Bright Light album out in July. Looping her own vocals to make music is this girl’s gift and each song she performed was beautiful including her quirky cover of Beyonce’s ‘Sweet Dreams.’ She had the whole room’s undivided attention.
Rod Thomas is a prolific writer who bares a certain vulnerability in his songs. He’s one of those songwriters you wonder how he got into your head to poetically articulate every feeling you’ve had on love, life and heartbreak. He opened with ‘Immature’ from his 2013 album Make Me Believe In Hope, one of the first songs of his to catch my attention. I loved seeing him perform his break-up anthem ‘Disco Moment’ and ‘Cry at Films’ which is recorded with dreamy Del Marquis of Scissor Sisters, but in the show performed with Lady Blue. This is my favorite track of Mr. Thomas’ by far. All day long I’ve heard ‘where did I go wrong?‘ over and over again in my head.
Other highlights of the evening included ‘In Your Care,’ a kiss to his family, both proper and extended, and his new single ‘I Wish We Were Leaving,’ featuring Sir Elton John and setting a great tone for the next Bright Light Bright Light album. He closed with three more ripped-from-Brian’s-soul songs: ‘An Open Heart,’ ‘Love Part II” and ‘Moves.’ Here’s to maturity, crying in films, open hearts and being in love again. His music has become sort of an audio vision board of sorts for me. I’m excited to know that he’s relocated to New York and immersed himself in Brooklyn’s booming music scene. We are mighty lucky to have him.
Thanks to ArjanWrites and Rod himself for the last-minute access. Looking forward to seeing you again in the dim lights of Joe’s Pub later this month and the bright lights of New York City on the whole. Cheers…