Live Review: Tom Odell @ Rough Trade

Taking to the stage at one of Nottingham's more intimate venues (Rough Trade), Tom Odell offered fans an evening of musical reflection. Nieve O'Donnell reviews.

Meeting at the doors of Rough Trade at 7:13pm (believing we were already late) meant that, when we arrived with at least fifteen minutes to spare until the beginning of the set, the evening was now imbued with a sense of calm. Tom Odell’s set was anticipated in a similar fashion, setting the tone for a glorious evening.

''Odell continued such reflective comments, giving insight to the audience about the ways in which he connects his music to those personal parts of his life''

Rough Trade Nottingham’s gigs and signings tend to be intimate affairs. Fans are offered the opportunity to see the artist in a room with up to 150-200 people, intimacy in numbers that couldn't be matched at a Bodega gig with a capacity of 250, let alone one at Rescue Rooms or Rock City. Intimacy made the arrival of tracks from Odell’s new record, monsters, even more sincere and poignant, with the singer reminding the audience of his frankness. Asking the audience if they’d seen a live Odell show before saying candidly that if not, then “welcome to the most miserable night of your lives.” Although the evening tugged on our heart strings, the disclaimer wasn’t necessary - the evening was more reflective than intrusive.

Stating that monsters is “an honest record”, of which attendees could buy with their ticket and grab a signed copy at the end of the night, Odell headed into well-known tracks like Jubilee Road and Grow old with me, both tracks being somewhat pinnacles of Odell’s song-writing career. Reflectively, he commented that Grow old with me is the song that he gets stopped in the street the most for, lots of the time with many stories of first dances and couples' romances.

Throughout the set, Odell continued such reflective comments, giving insight to the audience about the ways in which he connects his music to those personal parts of his life. Before heading into numb, Odell stated that the song is “pretty bleak, but I guess the best art is as unfiltered as possible and almost makes you feel uncomfortable in a way” in the hope that “it can provide relief not only to myself but those who have felt the same”. monster v.2 was described sincerely by the singer as a song about “f***ing over the bad guys and the monsters”. Candidly and more literally, Odell told the audience that the song was about his own personal history with panic attacks, a matter he’d only confronted recently. The audience took Odell’s comments in their stride, able to associate his musical artistry with frank matters from real life; many of which most of the audience could relate to.

Rounding off with don’t be afraid of the dark, Odell sent the message that had been building throughout the set: that people can face anything, and that music can be a great healer.

Written by: Nieve O'Donnell

Edited by: Amrit Virdi

Featured image and in-article images and videos courtesy of Tom Odell via Facebook and YouTube.