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Review: Tom Odell at the O2 Academy, Newcastle

Pounding his piano with a feral ferocity, Tom Odell quickly dispelled the myth that he is your run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter

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Tom Odell
Tom Odell

Lauded and pilloried in equal measure, Tom Odell is one of the year’s most divisive artists.

However, if the 22-year-old Brit Award winner was worried about the almost bipolar reception his emergence has sparked, he certainly didn’t show it here.

Pounding his piano with a feral ferocity, Odell quickly dispelled the myth that he is your run-of-the-mill singer-songwriter.

The young artist’s set burst at the seams with melodrama from start to finish as his impassioned howls reverberated around the walls.

There was little time for anyone to draw breath as Odell dispensed with the small talk, instead opting to tear through debut album Long Way Down at breakneck speed.

Breakthrough hit Another Love came surprisingly quickly, acting as a catalyst for the night’s one true sing-a-long moment.

But Odell’s decision to play his trump card early was vindicated by the ecstatic momentum it created.

Matters were helped by the fact that Odell also found time to throw in crowd-pleasing covers such as The Beatles’ Get Back and Etta James’ I Just Want To Make Love To You.

During a rapturously received encore it was entirely appropriate that Odell hurled his piano stool across the stage, provoking deafening cheers.

Those who see the singer-songwriter as the epitome of bland middle-of-the-road populism may have to think again.

The Tom Odell live experience is a surprisingly intense one.

Alex Wignall

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