After the release of his debut studio album Long Way Down in 2013, the English singer-songwriter Tom Odell has continued to rise to success. He has a host of music awards and had his own song, ‘Real Love’ feature on the popular Christmas John Lewis advert in 2014. The singer brought his ‘No Bad Days’ UK tour to a buzzing, Saturday night crowd at the Birmingham O2 Academy, on the back of his second album, Wrong Crowd, released in June of this year. It was a tiresome wait for Tom to take the stage by 9:30pm, undoubtedly the only down side since the crowd expected a 9pm start.
“Odell had the crowd screaming out the chorus as though we were all in a communal denial of a dysfunctional relationship”
No longer the meek, long-haired and hipster singer that first made waves back with his 2013 debut Long Way Down, Odell seems to have changed his image in the wake of his latest album. When it came time for him to take the stage, there was a short-haired, indie-pop Tom, suited and booted yet still with his trademark hip flask on the piano top. There was definitely a new air of confidence and assurance around him.
The singer opened with the first song off the new album, ‘Still Getting Used to Being on My Own’ setting a melancholic but decisively accepting tone. He swiftly followed up with the poetic lyrics of ‘I Know’ which had the crowd screaming out the chorus as though we were all in a communal denial of a dysfunctional relationship, much akin to the song’s implications. Indeed this is where Odell’s strengths lie, the unembellished honesty of his lyrics proving a winning formula with crowds in an age of Adele and Sam Smith. One has to wonder whether it’s only a matter of time before he too will see unprecedented international success and super-stardom.
“The newly-found confidence of an artist who is clearly more than a one-album-wonder”
A livelier atmosphere soon picks up as the set list moves to Odell’s more upbeat offerings. The title track of his latest album ‘Wrong crowd’, and intense ‘Concrete’ put to use his markedly developed smooth, falsetto tones. The music’s romantic appeal had all the couples in the crowd linking up for a dance as Tom strutted across the stage, microphone cord in hand, displaying the newly-found confidence of an artist who is clearly more than a one-album-wonder. The rest of the set follows suit. A mix of the old-the fiery favourite ‘Can’t Pretend’ and romantic ‘Grow Old with Me’- along with the new; the tranquil ‘Sparrow’, tear-inducing and angelic ‘Constellations’ and lastly, ‘Heal’, which recently featured in the soundtrack to the film If I Stay.
A more memorable moment struck when Odell’s playing was interrupted a few times by a excitable fan screaming: “I want your babies!” To this Tom Odell, a man who self-confessedly can’t maintain a relationship for “more than 6 months” replies with typical self-depreciating charm, politely chuckling: “I assure you, you don’t want my babies.”