Tom Odell // O2 Academy, Leeds // 16.10.18

Tom Odell // O2 Academy, Leeds // 16.10.18

At 27 years old, with a BRIT Critics’ Choice award and an Ivor Novello songwriter of the year award under his belt, Tom Odell has become a staple name amongst indie artists. On this tour, in support of his 3rd studio album Jubilee Road, fans knew they could expect to see a performer in his prime, and Odell did not disappoint.

Odell emerged in an emerald-green suit and sat down at his piano, before opening with the title track ‘Jubilee Road’ from his new album, a gentle song that feels almost like a story, of which Odell is the main character.

The atmosphere however quickly transformed, as he belted out ‘I Know’ accompanied by his band, to which the crowd returned every word. The comfort and confidence Odell exudes at the piano is what makes him a truly unique talent, captivating the audience with every note.

As he continued through fan favourites such as ‘Can’t Pretend’ and ‘Sparrow’, Odell’s vocals just seemed to get better and better, the power of which can only be truly appreciated live, as remarkably he seems to sound even better in person.

‘Hold Me’, a song that helped propel Odell’s career back in 2013, was enchanting. His ability to jump between gentle tinkling on the piano and extraordinary piano riffs all in the same song is incredible, as he went from shouting the chorus to all of a sudden whispering it to the front row.

At regular intervals Odell would lead his band in complex instrumentals, which served as the starters and desserts to his main songs. At one point, struggling to whistle during his song ‘Wrong Crowd’, he broke out in laughter mid-song before enlisting the help of the crowd to whistle, returning his piano to continue with the masterclass.

The setlist involved a large selection of songs, mostly from his first two albums, with only a few teasers from his upcoming release, that would be available a couple of weeks later on the 26th. A particular favourite was ‘Half as Good as You’, which he described as being awful at the beginning of writing, until he turned it into a duet. However, in the absence of a duet partner, Odell embarked on a solo rendition, which left the crowd wondering what problem he had ever seen in the track.

He finished with an astonishing version of ‘Magnetised’, one of the more popular songs from his second album, cementing in many the knowledge that Odell really is a showman at the top of his trade. The power and presence was mind-blowing.

All in all, it was a brilliant night led by a brilliant artist, who knows how to write a song and knows how to work a crowd. Many fans will be pining for a fourth album, despite Jubilee Road only being a week old.

Joe Daubney