Tom Grennan arrived at Northumbria Institute for a sold out date on his UK tour, and it is hard to emphasise just how impressive his live shows are. He is becoming increasingly popular for his voice, which is gravelly, rich and incredibly soulful. Listening to his records, it is easy to recognise that he is a talented individual, but hearing him sing live is an altogether different experience, with Grennan arguably sounding even better in person.
His gig was a careful split between his more feel-good, pop-sounding efforts such as ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ and ‘Barbed Wire’, songs that are loaded with catchy choruses and are designed to get a crowd bouncing around and singing along, something that was easily achieved. Admittedly, it is not the music that is the main attraction but Grennan’s voice, and it is in the stripped back, more melancholic songs in which the power and weight of his soulful tones really comes to the fore.
He opened with ‘Sweet Hallelujah’, and with just an acoustic guitar and his voice he was able to blow every single member of the crowd away. ‘Lucky Ones’, ‘All Goes Wrong’ and ‘Lighting Matches’ are all songs with more introspective, emotive lyrics, and when he sings of loneliness and feelings of self-worthlessness the words he sings and the power with which he delivers them gives the performance a real poignancy. Finding the balance between these two is key and he does this expertly, with certain songs inspiring emotions that are with you fleetingly before you find yourself singing and bouncing along without a care in the world.
Grennan came back out for an encore including ‘Something in the Water’ and ‘Patience’, and with each song in his encore he seemed ready to leave the stage before deciding that he wasn’t quite done yet. He is clearly passionate about what he does and his fans replicated that enthusiasm tenfold, and his final statement before departing- “we’re coming back to Newcastle, by fucking God we’re coming back”- shows that he appreciates the audience as much as they appreciate him. Armed with his superb voice and charismatic stage presence, Tom Grennan will definitely be back in Newcastle soon, and don’t be surprised if he is headlining even larger venues by the time he makes that return.