The Somerset House Summer Series has firmly made a name for itself as a must-attend event in the calendar, presenting an eclectic line-up of fantastic artists in an equally stunning setting. Wedged tonight in the midst of the ten-day run was the much-lauded Tom Odell, who enchanted the crowd with his ardent vocals and boundless enthusiasm.
If you've listened to Odell's album, you'll have been struck by the fact that someone so young seems to have such experience with love and heartache and can express it in such an eloquent and sincere way that many artists twice his age could only dream of. Live, this aptitude is hauntingly magnified, paired with his soulful voice that cracked with emotion and strained with the yearning depicted in his lyrics.
'Can't Pretend' saw him strike his piano keys with a ferocious vivacity as he bounced about on his stool, completely engrossed in his performance. Luckily, his intensity was infectious and the sell-out crowd stood completely mesmerised; for the majority of his set the audience were so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. 'Sirens' provided the perfect opportunity for Odell to showcase his vocal talent and, even with little but a piano to support him, his voice and presence permeated the grand courtyard. You'd never have guessed this was the same man who had been forced to pull out of a slot supporting The Rolling Stones mere days earlier due to a chest infection; he was pitch-perfect throughout and not once did his voice falter.
Unsurprisingly, 'Another Love' received the greatest cheer of the night, and everyone sang along eagerly to the bounding chorus and Tom's gravelly tone added to the fervor of the lyrics. An artist with only one album out usually fills their set with a cover or two, and he did so with a boisterous rendition of The Beatles' 'Get Back', which got everyone dancing and showed that Odell isn't solely about the melancholia.
An endearing shout-out to his Grandma and eleven songs later, the impressive set was all too quickly over. 'I feel honored to be playing at such a beautiful venue', mused Odell this evening. Well, Tom, we were honored to have seen you there.