English songwriter reaches a new plateau...

Tonight is wild in more ways than one. The rain and wind coupled with an autumnal chill, the rough conditions on this Thursday evening contribute to a sense of this being a memorable occasion. It is the night of Tom Grennan's Alexandra Palace take over, a live music event with the potential to take the singer to the next level of his career.

The 10,000 capacity show smoothly adapts tracks from the Bedford vocalist’s second album ‘Evering Road’ to the big stage. With a presentation based on key album tracks, sprinkled with a couple of early ones, tonight’s set includes nineteen songs with an encore of three.

A distinguished communicator, Grennan engages with ease, establishing strong bonds with his audience, this show is a display of his aptitude, and he offers a versatile stage presence that surprises, as if designed to keep his audience focused.

The stage setup is simple, with no more than what is needed. A wide, flashing light display that alternates between neon and blended colours, it adds a sharp contemporary edge to the stage. The band and backing singers give the show a timeless pop rock edge, facilitating a well-rounded performance, they help produce a balanced sound throughout the show.

With an intro consisting of ‘If Only’, ‘Royal Highness’, and ‘Something Better’, a solid foundation for a night of entertainment is created. By track four – ‘Sober’ – the crowd is fully connecting with the songwriter. Energetic, but emotionally raw, the intimate delivery is atmospheric and resonant. The singer is enjoying the moment, he feeds off the crowd and vice versa, and when he declares “This is crazy”, it is also an indication that a faster track is on its way; ‘Never Be a Right Time’.

Not one for taking support for granted, he decides it is time to express some gratitude, appreciation and enjoy the connection he has with his fans. Acknowledging that the last year has been a struggle for many, but things are better now “Thanks for being part of this family,” he says with sincerity. “Thanks for the last 18 months.”

British vocalist Ella Henderson is a good friend of Grennan, and the long-term nature of their friendship was celebrated recently with the song ‘Let’s Go Home Together’. After a warm welcome, Henderson arrives on stage, and together they deliver a raw performance to the enthused audience, who sing and cheer passionately in response to what they see.

Other surprise moments include the cover of Calvin Harris’ ‘By Your Side’, and ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ uses a snippet of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’.

Vibrant, engaging, and uplifting, Tom Grennan’s headline show at the iconic North London location has been a pleasure to witness, and the idea of imagining his return to the venue in the near future is not difficult.

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Words: Susan Hansen
Photo Credit: Joe Magowan

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