Gig review: Tom Odell, Edinburgh

Tom Odell's encores proved he's more than just a pop star. Picture: PA

Tom Odell's encores proved he's more than just a pop star. Picture: PA

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TWENTY THREE year-old, West Sussex-raised singer-songwriter Tom Odell chose the wrong time for an attack of modesty.

Tom Odell

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Star rating; * * *

Midway through a show which built up from an amiable canter to a ferocious gallop, just as things were on the verge of getting exciting, he turned to the rear of the stage, where his name was literally up in lights. “Don’t you think,” he asked an audience lost in adoration, “it’s a bit Elvis?”

It was an incident that highlighted the dichotomy at the heart of Odell’s public persona. On the one hand, the blond-haired young lad, who attracted fierce wolf whistles from certain quarters of the crowd, is prime pop star material, and the fact his debut album Long Way Down made it to number one last June is proof of his popularity.

On the other, his BRIT Critics’ Choice Award and recognition from the Rolling Stones and his idol Elton John places upon him the same heirship to classic rock’s titles that the likes of Paolo Nutini already possess.

The difference between the two Odells was in evidence here, although the join wasn’t exactly obtrusive. Where the young pianist played it coyly, sweeping through the balladry of Sense, the watered-down blues of Supposed to Know and his signature track Another Love, as well as a somewhat overwrought cover of the Beatles’ Get Back, he was primetime blockbuster material and all the less thrilling for it.

Yet when he returned for his encore he was a man unleashed, battering out the raw gospel of Gone At Last, the psychedelic bar room blues of See If I Care and a swaggering cover of Etta James’s I Just Wanna Make Love to You. Hopefully it’s this Odell who flourishes in future.

Seen on 12.02.14

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