With the release of his 3rd album ‘Jubilee Road’ on the same day, Tom Odell’s gig at Southampton’s O2 Guildhall is a celebratory achievement and he provided the crowd charisma and poise.
Having topped the charts with his debut album in 2013 ‘Long Way Down,’ and gained more popularity with the cover of The Beatles’ ‘Real Love’ for 2014’s John Lewis’ Christmas ad campaign, Odell has won multiple awards for his song-writing abilities including the Ivor Novello Award. Odell then provided tonight’s show with a range of tracks from all three of his albums for the crowd to laugh and cheer to with Odell’s ballsy charm.
The first support act was Charlotte, with her piano-pop music and it being described as fitting for a John Lewis Christmas ad. Maybe she will follow in Odell’s foot-steps and become the next singer for the iconic Christmas campaign. Iowa-based singer Max Jury was the second support act, who had an Arctic Monkeys ‘Suck It and See’ similarity with his Alex Turner high-pitched “ooos” and his slow blues. Jury began his set with ‘All I Want,’ which had a psychedelic vibe and he even comedically sang his track ‘Black Metal,’ which is about his jokingly past experience of dating a Satanist. Jury immediately set a light-hearted tone with his playful commentary and exciting the crowd with the arrival of Odell.
Odell parades onto the stage with his dashing black suit and tie and begins with a slow piano intro with a heavy white light on him hauntingly like The Exorcist. But the tone is instantly changed with the graceful first single from his latest album ‘Jubilee Road.’ It is then swiftly followed by ‘I Know,’ which is about a girl finishing with Odell and he is in denial with the fact that it is over. Lyrics like: “Yellow lamps on blackened skies, duffel hoods and deep brown eyes,” showcases Odell’s 10 years of song-writing skills and his attention to detail. The track is matched with a sophisticated performance with synchronised warm amber lights and high falsettos with Odell holding a note longer than the queue for the ladies’ toilets (very long). Odell then repeats the chorus with an encore and relentlessly throws his stool off the stage like the piano-playing rock star he is.
A change of scenery was needed for ’Supposed to Be,’ as it had red stage curtains to mimic Broadway, to match the emotional track like a sad part in a musical. It is then halted with an adrenaline-filled instrumental breakout before jilting into the calm ‘Für Elise, WoO 59 by Beethoven,’ for comedic effect. The transition proved Odell’s showmanship, which led into a crowd-favourite with ‘Wrong Crowd.’ The stage production featured a framed shadow cascading over Odell as he attempts to whistle to the melody for an eerie atmosphere but “It’s my 7th time I’ve tried to whistle and I still can’t do it.” Luckily the interactive crowd was more than welcome to whistle along. It was the moment of the show where Odell vocalised his relief of his album being released and debuted a sadder moment on the new album with ‘You’re Gonna Break My Heart Tonight.’ With Odell exclaiming that he is just “depressing,” the track is an imaginary scene of a romance (of course) of a girl and most likely Tom Odell himself having to leave and not see each other for a very long time. The track features an exquisite saxophone solo and an anthemic chorus.
The entire show was a spontaneous roller-coaster with slow ballads one minute and quick, dramatic songs the next. ‘Grow Old with Me’ has a rock style with Odell risking all by standing on top of the piano with his fist leading a cohesion of an intense instrumental and the lights spinning like you were on the teacup rides. Before the main encore, Odell sings ‘Another Love,’ his breakthrough single from his acclaimed 2012 debut EP, which earned him a BRIT’s Critics’ Choice Award. The single was the start of Odell’s successful career due to the effortless, smooth vocals and memorable chorus. With his lyrical wit and emotional song-writing, it led to supporting huge names such as Elton John and the Rolling Stones along the way.
Odell brought the church choir-esque vibes tonight with iridescent lights and angelic harmonies to match. After finding refuge from the limelight for a while to work on his music for his last 2 albums, it was no wonder that Odell was nervous about the release yet the excitement led him to state that he’s “ready to make another whole new album.” Odell is now finishing his UK tour and is heading across Europe and America in light of his new album ready to promote his raw, poetic music once again.
Written by Nada Olson
Photography by Karoliina Varret