REVIEW: Tom Odell, Night and Day, Manchester

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IT is quite a thrill to watch someone right at the start of their career, in a tiny venue, before they hit the big-time.

Those who caught 22-year-old Tom Odell, a piano player with a rasping voice and songs so anthemic they could have been written with an arena tour in mind (something that will no doubt happen within the next couple of years), did just that.

This lad has talent to burn, as he showcased in an EP in October which featured songs like Another Love and Can’t Pretend and catapulted him headfirst towards fame.

Before he has even released his debut album (due next month, called Long Way Down), he has been lauded by the critics and tipped as the next big thing.

He was named in the BBC’s Sound of 2013 list and won the BRIT’S Critics Choice.

At this gig you could see why. His songs are superbly written and the way he delivers them is astonishing, putting his heart and soul into every last syllable.

The only worry is that whoever produces his forthcoming album might try and make him sound like Coldplay. Man and piano plus sensitive songs often equals Chris Martin. But Odell has a raw edge that is unsettling, in a powerfully good way, and if his album can reflect his live performances, then the lad will not only be huge but should avoid some of the middle-of-the-road criticisms hurled Coldplay’s way.

There was a bonus for anyone at the gig from this neck of the woods – Blackpool’s Rae Morris the support act. Morris, signed by Atlantic last year and currently working on her debut album, is an artist I’ve admired for a long while, after first clapping eyes on her at West Coast Rock Cafe 12 months ago.

A huge voice and haunting, melodic songs, she is another destined for the top, although it might take her a little longer than Odell to get there.