Live Review: Tom Odell – Kings Cross Hotel (23.08.13)

British singer-songwriter Tom Odell is the talk of the UK music scene. After two EPs and nominations with BBC Sound of 2013 award and winning the Brit Awards Critics Choice, Sydney was treated to an intimate showcase ahead of his performances at Falls Festival over New Years.

Initially I thought we’d have Odell performing solo but instead he’s joined onstage by his bandmates on guitar, double bass, drums and our frontman on a tiny upright piano. With little fanfare Odell immediately launches into ‘Grow Old With Me’ which is also the opening track on his debut LP ‘Long Way Down’. A sweet and swinging little ditty that is instantly captivating. In stark contrast ‘Can’t Pretend’ is a darker brooding song that builds and builds, and even with only 3 extra musicians onstage Odell manages to create a ruckus.

‘Sense’ is a beautiful simple love song, “cause I’ve been feeling pretty small, sometimes feels like I’m slipping down walls, and every time I get a hold, it seems to break” Odell croons as he barely caresses the ivory keys on the piano. I’m pretty sure that all the ladies in the crowd were swooning a little after that number. His radio airplay hit ‘Another Love’ which featured on both of his earlier released EPs is a stomping tune that has his band mates providing some roaring backing vocals whilst he belts out his own. This too is another crescendo builder, it starts off so slow and as Odell progresses through verse and chorus and at the middle eight it erupts but almost immediately ends after this, leaving us wanting more. He then rounds out his set with ‘Hold Me’ and then ‘Cruel’ .

For somebody so young, Odell packs a punch in both the emotional songwriting and performing stakes. There were a couple of instances where his energetic playing on the little upright looked like it would result in falling off the riser it was on. Whilst his songs cover the gamut of love and loss, vocally he sounds so much older than what he looks which can be a little confusing. As this was merely an album launch teaser type of show for a predominantly media based audience, it was obvious that Odell was a little awkward with his onstage banter but he more than made up for it in a determined performance. It now remains to be seen whether ongoing support of his debut LP will result in some crowds popping along to his Falls Festivals sets and potential sideshows.


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Carina Nilma

Office lackey day-job. Journalist for The AU Review night-job. Emotionally invested fangirl.