Music review: Tom Odell, Dingwalls, London
Odell’s soft croon regularly apes Chris Martin
Wednesday 13 March 2013
There is a definite frisson when the figure sat at the upright piano raises a bottle of Irish whiskey to his lips, though perhaps we should have been warned when the Chichester-raised singer/songwriter and band entered to the strains of The Faces’ ‘Stay With Me’.
With boyish looks and unkempt mop of blond hair, Tom Odell makes an ideal pin-up, though his manner suggests a wilder romanticism than his more plaintive ballads suggest.
True, he has attracted a mainly female fanbase, mostly in couples tonight, for his first headline tour, yet his occasional references to drinking - “You probably think my judgement’s impaired” among them - suggest why his record company is keen to position the 22-year-old as a late-running replacement for the late, hugely talented, Jeff Buckley. Signed to Lily Rose Cooper’s (nee Allen’s) label ITNO, Odell is the first male recipient of the Brits Critics Choice award, following the likes of Adele, Florence and The Machine and Emeli Sandé.
After a brief cameo at the Brits and tabloid links to Taylor Swift, he now finds himself in an expectant Camden venue – “You’re very close,” he notes, wonderingly. Odell might have meant it as a warning as he mops his brow with a towel. He is an energetic performer, bouncing off his piano stool even during more measured moments, though it is the more passionate numbers that work best. There is the desperate yearning on forthcoming debut single ‘Hold Me’ and ‘Another Love’ with its frustrated admission of male inadequacy, also alluded to earlier in the gentler ‘Can’t Pretend’.
His playing may start as lyrically as Elton John’s ‘Tiny Dancer’, but Odell is soon pummelling the keys and beating time on the lid. Enunciating crisply, Odell’s soft croon regularly apes Chris Martin, even with the edge of a rough vibrato, while at full pelt his unrestrained catharsis brings to mind The Waterboys. He may be a heart-on-sleeve writer, but Odell is developing some swagger as a performer, evincing precocious confidence with an unhurried cover of ‘Honky Tonk Women’. Even then, much of the audience remain rapt for his hushed whispers of heartache, though his direct lyrics lack enough poetic heft to truly enchant. He ends with a tirade against one girl’s cruelty and at the line “all the girls scream” flicks up his arm and many do, before he throws his towel into the crowd. Blondes really do have more fun.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 Chelsea victory parade: Chelsea mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 3 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 4 Woman, 21, dies after taking contraceptive pill that 'caused fatal blood clot'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
The New York Times sparks criticism after releasing an all-white reading list
Glastonbury lineup 2015: The Women's Institute to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
Dheepan, film review: Palme d'Or prize goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Game of Thrones, The Gift, Season 5, Episode 7: Why two of the show’s most iconic characters just met
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people