‘You’ll have to excuse me, Bristol; I had a bit of a heavy one last night…’
It’s fair to say that Tom Grennan has got A Bit Of A Headache.
After all, he’s barely been on stage at Bristol’s Thekla for an hour, and yet he’s already revealed that he only got two hours’ sleep last night; stated that he was crying in the backstage area in the hours leading up to tonight’s show; and told the capacity crowd in front of him that the clothes on his back had been borrowed earlier in the day from some ‘legends’ in the front row.
At times like this, some artists may try to blame ‘the strains of the road’ for their current predicament. Others may, at points, attempt to place the blame on ‘stress’, or ‘homesickness’. Tom Grennan, however, is more than willing to admit that the cause of his pain is down to little more than having played the biggest gig of his career – a sold-out show at London’s KOKO – the night before, and going slightly too hard at the after-party.
In the end, though, that doesn’t really matter.
Yes, it’s true that if he turned up and played a sub-par show, we’d probably have something to say about it. Heck, we’ve seen Tom Grennan play a couple of times before, and we know exactly how good he is live – so, if he’d been anything less than excellent this evening, we’d probably have been a little bit peeved.
Fortunately, though, that’s not the case. The truth is, dear reader, that despite the levels of abuse levelled on it by the mean streets of Camden the previous evening, Grennan’s voice sounds as fresh and soulful tonight in Bristol as it does on the recorded versions of his tracks. In fact, scrap that – he sounds even better than he does on record.
From the moment the opening chords of his latest (and best) single, Royal Highness, ring in the start of the set, to the second the last notes of closing track Praying fade away into the night, Grennan is every bit the textbook indie-pop star. Anyone who’s ever listened to one of his tracks will tell you that he’s got a great voice; but, what they might not know is that he’s also one of the best live performers in the game today. His voice is husky, and soulful, and raw, and it lends itself perfectly to the anthemic indie-pop style of his recorded output. Sure, he may have had two hours’ sleep, but we can’t hold it against him when he still sounds this good.
He’s got the songs to back it up, too.
Of course, it’s also helpful when your last couple of releases contain some of the best indie songs we’ve heard for a long, long time. The likes of Praying, Something In The Water, and All Goes Wrong have become stereo staples here at One on One HQ over the last few months, and Grennan brings them all with him to Bristol tonight. Based on what we’ve seen tonight, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if Tom Grennan was clearing up at the BRIT Awards over the next couple of years – one of next year’s Critics’ Choice nominees, anybody?
But, if not, we’ll just have to live with knowing that Tom Grennan is showing no signs of stopping being one of the country’s most entertaining live performers, and one who’s pumping out great songs at the kind of rate that’d make Max Martin jealous.
We suppose that we’ll be able to cope with that.