Tom O’Dell performing at Sherwood Pines Nottinghamshire on Friday 26th June 2015.


Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

The stall selling waterproof ponchos did brisk business at Sherwood Pines last night as the rain poured down on the first of three nights of concerts organised by The Forestry Commission. With Tom O’Dell headlining Friday night, there was support from Alfie Connor; a young singer who managed to grab the audience’s attention with his haunting voice as the heavy rain tried its best to dampen spirits.

Up next was Blackpool chanteuse, Rae Morris, whose melodic voice was pitch perfect in this beautiful woodland setting. Having released her debut album Unguarded, earlier this year she was enchanting as she delivered Under The Shadows and her debut single, Don’t Go. There was something ethereal about her as the dark clouds drifted away and the rain finally stopped. In a set which included Skin, Love Again and the title track of her album, this promising singer-songwriter show cased her talent.

With a background of lights spelling the name Tom O’Dell, the 24 year old indie sensation took to the stage albeit a little late. When you first see him you could be forgiven for thinking ‘surfer dude’ as he seats himself at his piano with his floppy blonde hair falling in front of his eyes. But as soon as he started with the dynamic new hit in waiting, Friday Night, it was clear that he is a very talented singer-songwriter, whose powerhouse vocals and strong husky voice match his precise piano playing.

You can see why he was the BRIT’S Critic’s Choice Award winner in 2013 and Ivor Novello 2014 Songwriter of the Year with songs such as Hold On, Resist and Heal. Whilst there was not much more to this gig than a man at a piano playing songs with a simple band in the middle of a forest, O’Dell was utterly compelling.

From the stirring Constellations to the dramatic Somehow, his voice came over as strong and expressive; rather deep but still hitting the high notes. Grow Old With Me was sublime as was high energy, Cruel. A cover of The Beatles’ Real Love, the song that warmed our hearts for the first time last winter in the John Lewis Christmas advert with Monty the lonesome penguin, prompted a mass singalong, as O’Dell bounced on his stool and pounded his keyboards.

With the turnout not so great under a rainy Nottinghamshire sky, those that stayed at home missed a real treat.