Review: James Morrison - Picture House, Edinburgh

“IS ANYBODY out there not feeling the love at the moment?” enquired cheerleader-in-chief James Morrison. The murmur which went up indicated he should have worded the question better. The consensus seemed to be, though, that everyone was having a very nice time, thank you very much.

How could they not? For many, this was probably their only gig of the year.

To say that Morrison, an English gent in smart-casual suit jacket and T-shirt with a boyish gleam in his eye, puts on a good show is merely to accept that he knows exactly what his crowd wants and gives it to them. His songs are often mawkish ballads, occasionally stirred into life by a diluted and de-sexed approximation of Motown soul, of the kind beloved of housewives and X-Factor contestants everywhere. Watching him proficiently croon out the high notes of recent Jessie J collaboration Up, Precious Love or his easy-going big hit You Give Me Something was to consider that this generation has found its Mick Hucknall.

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True, that sounds a bit depressing, but it’s hard not to be taken in by Morrison’s matey bonhomie. His encore finished things on an upbeat high, with The Awakening and Under the Influence followed by a spirited Wonderful World, before which the singer apologised for having had to originally postpone this date. “But this is f***ing awesome, isn’t it?” he eagerly enquired. The ovation which arrived at the end of the show suggested his audience agreed.