“Opening with what seems to be cross between a lounge act with funky beats, they certainly grab the attention of the partially full Borderline. As their first number gets going it is clear that these guys know what they are doing as the brass section kicks in, and the lead singer and pianist sings with a vocal that is somewhere between an early Tom Waits, and possibly a husky blues singer, or even an over exuberant cigar fan. With the stage bathed in red light, and the band in black, the curtains added to the effect of a lounge act – but one that appears to be living on the precipice. There was nothing cheesy or contrived about the performance, in fact it carried with it a dark weight, and a shadow.Their mix of dark cabaret, punk, and jazz was well received by one and all, and as the venue slowly filled they received more and more applause. At the end of the night they had copies of their yet unreleased album, “Stick & Poke”, and so far it has been on constant play almost all week”
“The song structures on A. Tom Collins's new album, Stick and Poke, are mostly built on easily digestible formulas, bluesy designs that feel vaguely familiar and rely on four or five chords. Happily, though, the timeless blues, honky-tonk and funky New Orleans cues give the band the proper space to shine. The real power of this record lies in how frontman Aaron Collins and the rest of the group brilliantly fill in simple musical canvases. Collins's vocals and keyboard solos pop with urgency on "Mambo," the horn lines sparkle in waltz time on "Us," and the rhythm section is simply dazzling on the frenetic "So Good." Even Collins's stark solo piece, "Little Boy," benefits from a careful attention to nuance. That keen attention to detail makes for an album that feels new and familiar at the same time, one that evokes hints of everyone from Tom Waits to Booker T. and the MGs.”
“Locals A. Tom Collins proved they were more than up to the challenge of opening the show. The band hit their stride mid-way through the set, tearing through favorites like “Mambo” and “Pants Off Dance Off” and winning over both the audience and the Alabama Shakes, who meandered up from the green room to watch from the side of the stage.”
“A. Tom Collins is making late-night barroom jazz with a punk-rock edge that’s prominently displayed on the band’s EP, Oh No! The album’s six tracks are a dizzying mix of styles, mashing classic R&B, blues, and jazz together with straight-ahead rock ’n’ roll and a dash of Tom Waits for good measure.”
"I want to have a band that if Satan was throwing a cocktail party — like throwing a mixer at his place — we would be the band that played that cocktail party," he enthuses, before clarifying, "Not like a rager, but just like a mixer — like Satan is having some friends over for martinis. That's the kind of band I want to sound like."
“Local wildman A. Tom Collins — former frontman for Machine Gun Blues — opened for Mallman with his five-piece band and filled the Hi-Dive with a resplendent, cabaret-meets-drunken-ragtime set. Collins’ vocals — like a raspy, inebriated Randy Newman — matched perfectly with the jazzy three-piece horn section, stand up bass and drums as he belted out drunken ballads. I swear I’m going to be happily hollering “F*** the beautiful people” in my head for weeks now, thanks to them. ”
“It would've been too obvious for Aaron Collins, former frontman of the rock barbarians known as Machine Gun Blues, to do something similarly rambunctious with his new band, A. Tom Collins (due at the hi-dive on Tuesday, August 17). Fortunately, he opted to accentuate his actual musical talents with this latest project. Calling the music he makes with A. Tom Collins "old-timey" or "Americana" would miss the fact that he and his bandmates seem to be aiming for a more frayed ragtime sound informed by a lot of music out of New Orleans. It all sounds like it's coming from another time, except that Collins performs with an intensity and conviction that anchors the performances firmly in the present. Backed by horns and an upright bass, Collins's piano work isn't just a percussive accent to his vocals. Instead, its unexpected delicacy lends this band an equally surprising grace.'”