Tom Odell - Club Academy, Manchester
Well, what a night. That's all I can say. I'm sure I wasn't the only one to have felt privileged to be standing in the tiny Club Academy, nestled in the bowels of the Manchester Student Union, witnessing a triple shot of three stupendous new acts: Manchester outfit Findlay, superstar in the making Jake Bugg, and starting it all off the truly wonderful Tom Odell. Seeing as tickets for the show, originally priced at £8, had been going for more than ten times that amount to online touts, this was most definitely one of the most anticiapted gigs of the year.
And Mr Odell's career is off to a good start if this live performance is anything to go by. Calmly walking to his piano, and without further ado, he starts things off with a storming rendition of the passionate 'Another Love', title track to his recently released EP. The song is a perfect vehicle to show off his powerful and beautiful voice. If Odell is nervous about opening up for the hotly anticipated Bugg he does not show it. His banter is easy and engaging, his lighthearted mood juxtaposing nicely with his rather dramatic music. Interspersed with tracks from the new EP - like the soul-infused splendour of 'Can't Pretend' - are new songs from next year's debut album; the luscious 'Storm', stands out as Odell extols the song's "clapability".
This may have been a short - but sweet - set but it was an impressive teaser for more exciting things to come.
Photograph (c) Mike Gray.