By Madison James, First Year Politics and French
Few artists can claim to have quite literally broken the internet with a single live performance. Smashing the limit of 20,000 participants, Tom Grennan’s virtual gig at Brixton Academy was initially beset by technical difficulties, perhaps indicative of the problems that this new format can experience.
However, the charismatic vocalist took it on the chin, delivering a set that was buzzing with energy, with the addition of audience interaction creating a surprisingly intimate atmosphere. 2018’s Lighting Matches earned Grennan a top five chart position, and the quality of the previously unheard tracks from his upcoming album, Evering Road, bodes well for its release next month.
Opening with the catchy, feel-good ‘Amen’, Grennan’s powerful vocals reverberate around the stage, harmonising beautifully with the four-strong backing band. Each lyric is belted out with the full force of his characteristic energy, contrasting with the more intimate, acoustic ‘Run in the Rain’. Soulful and heartfelt, his gravelly tones and the lilting melody blend to create an emotionally charged performance.
‘Never Be a Right Time’, the first new track from Evering Road, is punchy and intense, set apart by its forceful piano. Although not much of a departure from his previous work, its catchy lyrics and captivating delivery make it a solid crowd-pleaser. Leading with an unmistakeable bassline, the vibrant ‘Royal Highness’ really showcases his soaring voice and proves to be an audience favourite along with the exceptional ‘Barbed Wire’.
Revealed to be his personal favourite from the new album, ‘Make My Mind Up’ is his standout effort. A completely stripped-back performance, his heart-wrenching lyricism and belted-out vocal brimming with emotion is genuinely moving. ‘I Don’t Need a Reason’ is comparatively on the more repetitive side, but still an emotive effort.
The audience’s faces are displayed on a physical screen in front of Grennan in a quirky montage, allowing the crowd to interact with the performer. One moment he’s having a chat with Mike from Bedford; the next, serenading a crying toddler with a rendition of ‘Little Bit of Love’. The livestream was interspersed with several more heart-warming moments, giving the format a more personal and intimate edge over simply staring at a screen.
‘One can’t help but feel nostalgic for gigs gone by’: Erland Cooper @ The Barbican Livestream Review
The hugely popular ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ brings the night to a close, its upbeat melody driven by Grennan and the band’s infectious energy, followed by an encore of ‘Make My Mind Up’. With his immense stage presence and talent as a vocalist, Evering Road will be an album to watch next month. Plus, if this livestream was anything to go by, his future live gigs are not to be missed, whenever or wherever they next take place.
Featured: Marc Mattock
Have you attended an online gig? Would you like to?