Tom Baxter

JON WELCH Norwich Arts Centre

JON WELCH

> Norwich Arts Centre

Singer-songwriter Tom Baxter made a welcome return to Norwich last night at a packed Arts Centre.

Baxter, who grew up in Bungay and studied art in Norwich, has come a long way since early musical outings in rockabilly band Jailbait.

With his debut album Feather and Stone, Baxter justified the faith shown by his label Columbia, which fought off stiff competition to sign him. Its combination of powerful, soaring ballads and wistful lyrics helped win it critical acclaim and airplay.

At last night's gig Baxter was showcasing material from the follow-up, but these songs, hinting at a more rocky direction, suffered badly by comparison. Even Baxter's wonderful imploring voice was unable to redeem some leaden lyrics and self- indulgent riffing.

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This was a disappointing performance from a very talented artist and one wonders whether he's taking the right direction.

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