Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins performs at Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center in Rockville, Maryland, on Aug. 2, 2018. (Photos by Jason Nicholson and words by Mickey McCarter)
The room simply lights up whenever Tom Bailey sings “Lay Your Hands on Me,” by his former band the Thompson Twins. And the room was very bright indeed at Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center in Rockville, Maryland, on Thursday during a visit by the debonair gent who returned to the area for a show of largely hopeful, romantic tunes perfect for a summery day.
As we previously reported, Tom returned to touring on his pop music bonafides several years ago, performing the Thompson Twins catalog with festivals and solo turns. He’s accompanied by a lovely and talented band — drummer Paulina Szczepaniak, keyboardist Charlotte Raven, and bassist Alice Offley – who effortlessly bring to life the aspirational new wave tunes that Tom crafted circa 1981-1991.
The elder Tom Bailey appeared on tour dressed all in white, making a solo venture away from his bigger tour opening Culture Club and the B-52s around the country. He’s still on that tour, and it’s highly recommended that you arrive early to those shows to check him out.
In addition to “Lay Your Hands on Me,” Tom and the ladies performed highlights including “King for a Day,” “Doctor! Doctor!” and a rousing “Hold Me Now” for an encore where the very enthusiastic audience carried the chorus for several rounds to end the show.
When Tom hit those songs that required female accompaniment, the talented Ms. Offley stepped to the microphone, switching from keyboards to bass, to sing alongside him. In any band of very talented folks, Alice would be a standout for her command of both synths and bass and her appealing vocals.
Tom wasn’t too chatty on Thursday, but he took the time to introduce the band and several new songs from his recently published solo album, Science Fiction. From the new album, Tom and the band performed “Shooting Star” and “Come So Far,” two songs very much at home alongside Tom’s other synthpop gems.
Watch the official music video for “Come So Far” by Tom Bailey on YouTube:
Tom’s selection of songs by the Thompson Twins falls into the years 1982-1985, when the band was at its commercial peak, and truly producing some fantastic music. For folks of a certain age, listening to his live performance was a graceful slingshot into a more idyllic time. For younger admirers, of which there were quite a few at Montgomery College, the songs were an introduction to a sophisticated band at its peak, and perhaps music that spoke well to our higher selves, a scarce commodity on the radio today.
Admittedly, the accusatory “Lies” speaks instead of our lower selves, but when a song is that much fun, who are we to complain?
Here are some pictures of Tom Bailey and his band performing at the Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center on Aug. 2, 2018. All photos copyright and courtesy of Jason Nicholson.