The Lion & The Wolf @ the Waiting Room, London 04.02.15

Underneath the rustic wooden floors and well-stocked bar of The Three Crowns, Stoke Newington stands The Waiting Room – an 85-capacity gig venue. On Wednesday 4th February, this space was graced by the gentle folk tones of singer-songwriting The Lion & The Wolf (TLATW) who supported New Desert Blues, a Hampshire-based up and coming rock sextet backed heavily by BBC Introducing in the South.

Feb 4th, 2015 at The Waiting Room, London / By Sam Dibley
The Lion & The Wolf The Lion & The Wolf (real name Thomas George) is a charming man and this is very evident in his live performance, which opened with the words: “Hello. I’m The Lion & The Wolf and I’m currently on a UK tour aboard the National Express”, prompting warm laughter. He continued: “I love paying £12 to hear some woman talk loudly behind me all the way from Manchester to London…for four hours… That's what happened today.”

Away from his Isle of Wight home, and currently touring his debut album, Symptoms, TLATW recently told Rocksound: “Symptoms is a reflection of the past four years’ work. The songs have come together at a time in my life where each track tells an integral part of the journey from playing in front rooms of people's houses to performing on Europe-wide tours.” The sold out venue certainly appreciated his story, hearing chilling, heartfelt songs such as ‘Ghosts on Trinity’, ‘Colour’ and ‘The Hole That It Leaves’.

The latter was written to let his sister know that he was sorry that he wasn’t there for her when her best friend died in a car crash. “It destroyed me that I couldn’t be there for her”, George told Rocksound. A touching speech preceded the performance, which in itself was raw, emotional and pretty damn perfect to be honest. To deliver such “crushingly depressing shit”, as George described it, in such an eloquent, inspired way in something that can be easily overdone. The Lion & The Wolf, however, captivated his audience who stood frozen to the spot, soaking up every last morsel of sadness and remorse.

Later, during ‘Ghosts of Trinity’ George’s audience stood captivated once more. The song, referencing his 18th year of life when his Mum’s Mum and his Dad’s Dad passed away within two days of each other acts as an ode to the hard times and, more importantly, to the fact that the hard times get better. Carefully plucked guitar patterns underlaid even more carefully enunciated lyrics: “I was the last one to see the sparkling eyes of your life on the night that you met me” and “We stood around your tree, and let go of the day in the church where your soul left your body”, among the imperfect, minor cadences. It must be noted that the studio recorded version of this track is well worth a listen: it has a great deal of meaning behind it, the organ sequence having been recorded in the Church where George’s Grandfathers’ funeral was held.