Although his short-lived band Gravel split up 8 years ago, Tomas Sinickis is one of the godfathers of Lithuanian indie rock. Gravel rose to popularity in 2006 when it auditioned for the Eurovision Song Contest. At the time they didn’t win, but Lithuania was introduced to the group’s Britpop sound and almost overnight, Gravel reached a cult following.The same year their debut album ‘Pockets Full of Fun’ was released, and it still holds up as one of the best Lithuanian releases. Despite their popularity, band split up in 2008 just after releasing their second LP for free on the internet. Until 2015 there were only a handful of shows, in which Sinickis played old hits and some new songs/sketches acoustically. The new material was mostly in Lithuanian – a contrast to the English-only lyrics of Gravel.
After another few years of absolute silence, Sinickis released his long delayed debut solo album called ‘Mylimas Vyras ir Sūnus’ in October 2015. A one-off show to mark the release took place the same month and thanks to overwhelming demand, Sinickis promised he would play another in April this year.He kept his promise and on April 8, he played a sold out show at the Legendos club accompanied by a backing band and a string quarted. Music Export Fund came, saw and heard. Now it’s time to write about it.
Sinickis’ solo shows used to have the vibe of sitting with a friend who played some funny songs but this one was the complete opposite. It was professional, mature, and left zero margin for a sloppy performance.
This show was divided into two main parts. He played most of the songs with the band and some were done acoustically; almost as a throwback to his earlier solo years. The string quartet played along for the better part of the show, but it was mostly drowned by guitars and a wall of sound.I can’t say that this show was the most energetic. It was more like a singer-songwriter concert where people come to listen to the music, not dance to it. Almost half of the songs the band played were crowdpleasers from Gravel’s repertoire, and while Sinickis does not deny that he loves some of his old stuff himself – especially ‘Foreign Policy’ from the second LP ‘Dirty Beauty’ – the fans loved the new songs just as much. The show felt like a farewell one – there are no plans for the future so we are stuck with what we have – a handful of YouTube videos from the acoustic years and three albums laden with love, hate, sarcasm and irony from one of Lithuania’s finest.