Tom Odell at Electric Ballroom
Taking his seat at a spotlighted piano, blonde, bobbed hair shielding half his face, Tom Odell is exactly what you would expect from the 22-year-old winner of the BRITs Critics’ Choice Award. But don’t be too quick to dismiss this fragile looking creature as just another angsty crooner.
Odell’s songs are no doubt commercial and his two recent hits Another Love and Hold Me are filled with emotional crescendos that wouldn’t be out of place in a Disney film. However, the backbone of his set is formed by the same sense of driving musicality that you might see in Coldplay or Arcade Fire’s material, which allows Odell to sidestep the trap of being pigeonholed with the likes of similarly lovesick artists The Kooks or Ben Howard.
The set is more upbeat than expected, fuelled by feverish bouncing at the piano stool, while his head bobs wildly to the bass drum. When stepping out from behind the shield of his piano, Odell has an easy manner with the audience, only recoiling slightly when the occasional heckle is hurled from the back of the venue. His rapidly growing confidence will surely mean this won’t be the case by the end of the tour.
The encore demanded by the audience features the pleasant surprise of a slow tempo version Rolling Stones Honky Tonk Women, with an aggressive piano bashing finish that reveals exciting flashes of something lurking beneath the emotionally charged melodies. Odell’s songs may be commercial but his focus on musicality saves him from being bland and there are occasional glimpses that hint at an exciting future potential. It will be interesting to see what happens following the release of his album later this year, so be sure to get in there quick. Odell will certainly make it big in the charts.
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Watch the video for Another Love here: