“You probably think I’m getting p****d up here,” said James Arthur in his deep Middlesbrough accent, indicating the glass he’d been drinking from, “that’s actually honey and lemon, I’ve not been well.”
James Arthur - Usher Hall, Edinburgh
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This was symptomatic of the best behaviour he employed, having already experienced controversy in his nascent career, not least when he was recently caught up in a furore about homophobic lyrics.
Although such a situation might be unforgivable to some, it seems that Arthur’s core fans either don’t care or have taken his apology at face value. Certainly the place was packed for the first big Edinburgh gig of the New Year, with a crowd predominantly made up of the young and the female.
When the music had died down he was personable bordering on the ordinary, shaking hands with fans up the front of the crowd and speaking to them when they offered him a comment.
When his four backing musicians kicked in he was utterly slick, however, with a soulful air developing alongside his two backing singers.
The young 2012 vintage X-Factor winner went through the usual repertoire of a TV talent contest winner, from hands-in-the-air aspirational anthemics in his new single Get Down, acoustic balladry in Recovery and an air of the apparently edgy with Supposed’s hip-hop bounce. There was also a slowed-down cover of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, although the biggest cheer and the most full-voiced singalong – was for his big hit Impossible.