Tom Waits – His First Prague Concert

Tom Waits comes to the Czech Republic for the first time, within his Glitter and Doom tour. The last album the owner of two Grammys published, is a three-volume called Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards.

In the album, each disc has it’s own distinctive feel. Brawlers sports fiery bar-fight songs in which Waits snarls as if he’s about to bite someone’s jugular, Bawlers is a collection of cry-your-eyes-out numbers in which he sounds like he’s going to do just that, and Bastards is an experimental collage of unused, avant-garde pieces where he sounds like he’s having a whole lot of fun. The whole album is solid, but Bawlers is the jewel in the crown, with some of the most beautiful and affecting songs to come out in quite some time. Of course, this is largely due to Waits’ gravelly old barfly voice, which was famously described by Gary Graff as sounding “like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months and then taken outside and run over with a car.” While it’s certainly not conventional and definitely not pretty, there’s a world-weary charm to be heard in that raspy growl, which makes Tom Waits more than just a singer/songwriter. The pop stars can belt the ballads at the top of their beautifully smooth voices, and in that regard they will always seem alien to us, but Waits seems like he’s singing in a dingy bar just down the street. But his voice doesn’t stand on it’s own; rather it accentuates his evocative, sophisticated lyrics and lovely melodies. Indeed, there’s something quite hypnotic about such a harsh voice singing such pretty songs, and the result is delightful.

His concerts are on 21st and 22nd July in Prague Congress Centre. The prices of tickets will be known on Monday, they will be on sale from 30th May 2008