“Last week I got some seriously good news,” pointed out 21-year-old London and Hertfordshire-raised singer Sam Smith here, “my debut single went to number one.”
Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
He seemed less able to believe that than the crowd who greeted the statement with cheers, a baby-faced young talent whose stylishly cropped flattop haircut and long leather jacket belied a personality which seemed wide-eyed and pleasantly innocent. Yet the quality of the production here and the response of his sold-out audience suggested he’s no flash in the pan.
It’s been a brisk but steady rise for Smith in the last two years, with the BBC Sound of 2014 award and the BRIT Critics’ Choice Award for this year both gathering on his mantelpiece, in addition to chart-topping turns on Naughty Boy’s La La La last year and his own Money On My Mind a matter of days ago.
Along with the song on which he first appeared, dance outfit Disclosure’s 2012 hit Latch, these were the highlights of this set, all appearing in a kind of crescendo towards the end of the performance.
Smith’s is a style particular to a generation for whom shows like X-Factor are an ingrained cultural reference rather than a Saturday night gimmick, and his undoubtedly strong vocal performance rested upon a technically proficient falsetto rich in neat textural flourishes and a rhythmic edge to match the dance influence which was compounded by an often eardrum-hammering bass.
Yet those songs designed specifically to show off his vocal prowess – the soulful Nirvana or the acoustic groove of Lay Me Down – point to a strong if currently somewhat sculpted talent.