Tom Odell at the Olympia Theatre – Review
Tom Odell at The Olympia Theatre – November 2nd 2013
Pretty, perfumed fresh faces eagerly await the arrival of Tom Odell onstage. The Ramones “Baby I Love You“ keeps them entertained until the handsome troubadour alights upon his piano. Opening with “Grow Old With You”, Tom begins the sweet serenade with his tale of promised love and enduring spirit.
Oversized light bulb lamps populate the stage with ambient lighting as Tom tells us about his gig supporting Billy Joel at the O2 on Friday night. Billy’s piano turned a full circle, so he could see the crowd apparently. Poor Tom can’t afford that so he’s just gonna do his best to keep us entertained. And that he does straight away with his second song “Can’t Pretend”, the first single from his debut album “Long Way Down”. The album won the Critics Choice Award at this year’s Brit Awards.
Following with “Sirens“ and then “Sense“ , the light bulbs infuse as a willing self imposed silence descends upon the audience. Everybody wants to absorb every second of sound. Swaying teenage girls adoring their artist as he reveals his vulnerable soul in his unrequited love confusion.
Increasing the tempo now with “I Know“, Tom and his band give this rendition the full fat version live. The inclusion of arranged yet raw guitar riffs punctuate the performance with an edgy rocky almost angsty flavour. Quite a distance from the earnest heart wrencher on the album.
A Beatles cover is next: “Oh Darlin'”. Showboating his ability to indulge in any genre Odell give us a jazzy, waltzy, twanged up version of this classic. Between the diversity of the piano and delivery on vocals, Tom demonstrates that he’s not just your average hyped up singer songwriter. For once, the Brits may be right. More shushing from the crowd for “Supposed To Be“, a lilting love song of earnest lyrics and resignation, a lush arrangement with double bass that translates live into a big affair with bass, drum, guitar and an extended dramatic piano solo. “Another Love“ and the well known “Hold Me“ revive the shushed up crowd as Tom encourages “Dublin to sing it out”. I spy a ten year old boy in the upper circle thrashing out the piano keys on the red velvet divider.
Greedy for an encore, Tom and his band supply several flavours of fun, giggling at the girls during “See If I Care” another meaningful tale of seduction and rejection, straight into the Diet Coke song “I Just Wanna Make Love To You“, the Etta James cover. Well I don’t know if it’s the Diet Coke imagery or the teenage pheromones, but the desire for Odell is almost tangible at the barrier. Singing it back, it’s clear this guy has got the panache, charm, integrity, vulnerability and talent that make him a serious musical force to be reckoned with.
Review by Ciara Sheahan