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Tom Odell, Manchester Academy, Saturday 19 October
Monday 21st October 2013 @ 10:00 by Max Wieland

Tom Odell

For an artist that has seen a lot of hype over the past 12 months, I entered the Manchester Academy last Saturday with a slight sense of trepidation.

Despite enjoying Tom Odell’s debut album, which includes some spectacularly crafted singles, I was concerned that Long Way Down had a few too many fillers for a gig of this size.

Although the Oxford Road venue isn’t one of Manchester’s biggest, it is definitely up there, especially for an artist with one album to his name.

Concerns aside, Odell did himself justice, keeping every Tom, Dick, and Harry transfixed throughout.

A bursting and sweltering capacity crowd were generally full of verve, with the only gripe coming from a core group of gaggling girls that screamed almost bizarrely at the most inopportune times.

That aside, the 22-year-old and his exceptional backing band took all those in attendance on a fast paced trip scattered with enough piano-bashing to discern himself greatly from his more soft-sounding album.

The first-rate Another Love, Grow Old with Me and I Know all received expected chorus approval, but the night’s standout moments came with two sublime covers.

Starting with the Beatles Get Back mid-way through the set, referencing their recent tour of America as its inspiration, and secondly with I Just Want to Make Love to You, arguably a vast improvement on other popular renditions.

Rather than a cool – melodic sing-along, as his album might fool you – Odell’s passion, honesty and power, combined with his excitingly contagious band, really was compelling.

Any lingering doubts over fillers were erased when the West-Sussex man lapped up the attention at the end of his 65-minute-set – soaking up the clamour upon his knees from many a besotted fan.

From start to finish, Odell nailed it.

With his next gig coming on 11 February at the 02 Apollo, one thing is guaranteed, rather than entering apprehensively, one will be walking in expectantly, such was the performance Odell gave last Saturday.

Review by Max Wieland