Live Act in Focus: Tom Odell


Tom Odell is well known for his most famous single, ‘Another Love’, and has performed at a variety of festivals and venues in his career. His performances are more than just music, too. His charismatic moves combined with his sweet, humble nature form together with his gorgeous vocals to create an extremely memorable experience.

There are a couple of particularly memorable performances of his which have stayed with me. One of those is his show at London’s Brixton Academy in 2016, where he was supported by Rag ‘n’ Bone Man.  The venue was packed, which meant that the atmosphere was incredible as the audience was filled with people of all age ranges. That’s one of the great things about Odell’s performances; he has fans both old and young, and the collective experience of witnessing his magic on stage feels wonderful.

Another show which was memorable was his performance at Curious Arts Festival in 2017. Somehow, being in a sweaty, smelly, packed tent seemed ideal when Odell was on the stage. Wearing a suit, which is common attire for him at a show, he looked like a dreamy, indie man you’d find all over tumblr in 2013. He performed all the hits, and even brought out Birdy to perform a duet.

Odell’s stage presence is always magnificent, and filled with energy. He often dances on his piano, and his range of both slow, sad songs and faster, more upbeat songs makes for a performance which has a little bit of everything in it. One minute you’ll be swaying with tears in your eyes to ‘Sense’, and the next you’ll be screaming along to ‘Hold Me’. His 2016 album Wrong Crowd has some incredible songs to hear live on it, including ‘Here I Am’ which is energy-filled and catchy. However, his debut album Long Way Down (2013) is undoubtedly the best live. Not only does it contain hit single ‘Another Love’ on it, but every single song featuring makes for an incredibly memorable live performance.

Possibly the most iconic song he performs, and therefore one of the reasons seeing Odell live is so magnificent, is ‘I Know’, with the chaotic piano at the beginning acting as the perfect tool to rally up the crowd. His powerful vocals really shine out in this song, with a combination of both gorgeous singing and loud, but effective, shouting throughout. Each show there seems to be a little bit of ad lib here too, where Odell takes control of his voice entirely to create the most beautiful sounds. The best part of this song, and one of the most memorable aspects of any Tom Odell show, is where it comes to a sudden, quiet halt and then rapidly builds up in speed and volume. Odell shouts some off-beat “I know”s, where the crowd never fails to join in as he energetically encourages them. Behind his powerful shouts, there is the beautiful chaos of piano, guitar and drums.

The final reason why Tom Odell’s performances are so iconic is because of his extremely talented musicianship that he displays in playing the piano, which is oftentimes rather complicated. He somehow manages to uphold his vocals whilst making some powerful sounds on the piano. Tom Odell is definitely someone to catch live when you get the opportunity, as you will no doubt be amazed at his musicianship, energy and powerful songs.

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Live Editor 2019/20 & third year English student. Probably watching Gilmore Girls

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