Tom Odell, the man that has made playing the piano cool again, followed the alt-pop Ruen Brothers, and the indie-folk quartet, the Wildflowers. Result? Quite unexpectedly, one of the most enjoyable gigs of the year.

His raw talent was abundant as he tinkled away on the keys between songs, to a standard that most could only dream of achieving after weeks of practice – and he was essentially doodling.

Yet there is hope for us all. Tom Odell only reached Grade 7.

The man from Chichester transported me back some 30 years with improvisation a plenty, introductions of band members amidst endless solos and imaginative jamming. His covers of ‘Get Back’, The Beatles, as well as a wonderful rendition of ‘I Just Wanna Make Love To You’ as part of his encore, were great additions.
Although Odell’s studio album ‘A Long Way Down’, hadn’t blown me away at all, his tracks were brought to life to produce a hair-raising performance. Rock City was captivated into absolute silence during the delicate tracks such as ‘Sense’ – a track that allowed Odell to show off his impressive and unique voice. On the other end of spectrum, he encouraged even the oldies in the audience (of which there were plenty to jump up and down to the energetic ‘Hold Me’.

The obviously popular ‘Another Love’ was greeted with cheers, and with good reason. Absolute silence accompanying the delicate intro was shattered with an eruption of energy as the song surged towards its climax. The encore was perhaps Odell’s greatest triumph though, starting with ‘Gone At Last’, which was essentially gospel. In any other situation, this would have undoubtedly been out pf place, but in this gig it was perfect.
This enjoyment was encouraged by Odell’s dynamism – despite few words being spoken, save a poor joke about the upcoming storm, his enthusiasm was electrifying. The obvious confines of playing a piano placed no burdens on him as he felt free to roam the stage – I’d be surprised if he still has the same piano he started the tour with too…

As someone who was skeptical about even going along to this gig, the result was very rewarding, and tickets for Tom Odell’s next tour are already being considered.

James Mason

…James is listening to Arabella – Arctic Monkeys…

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