Gig review: Emeli Sande, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow

WITH her chart-topping debut album, Our Version Of Events, going platinum within two weeks of its release earlier this year, Emeli Sande could easily have graduated to a larger venue by now, but it suits her supper-club, soul style to perform in a room which can accommodate a good number of her fans yet still feel intimate.

Sande may consort with all the young Brit rappers in the upper reaches of the charts, but the mellifluous piano intro to opening number Daddy is more her wheelhouse. She’s an old-fashioned songwriter making her way as she must, though when the mellow burnished rock guitar, epic backing vocals and tub-thumping drums kicked in they sounded like they were shipped in from a rock musical.

Not the most charismatic performer, she has learned some presentation tricks on her way up, and can now imbue an unremarkable break-up number such as Suitcase with all the melisma and faux emotion it can stand. Clown was milked equally, but resonated just that bit more authentically because Sande appeared so comfortable accompanying herself on piano.

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The light acoustic reggae dusting to Where I Sleep was a pleasant surprise; more often, the band overdid it. An unadorned piano version of the Professor Green hit Read All About It served her better and there were whoops of approval for her solo performances of album track River and Hope, co-written with Alicia Keys.

However, after all the lounge troubadour earnestness, the exuberant spirit of new song Wonder and the clubby rhythm of her debut hit Heaven, eliciting Sande’s best vocals of the night, ensured the set went out on a pick-me-up.

Rating: ***