Tom Odell's Talent Charms at Thalia Hall

Image Courtesy of Fernanda Oliveira

Image Courtesy of Fernanda Oliveira

By Fernanda Oliveira

Tom Odell, a self-described “blonde British fool in a stupid hat,” gave an amazing performance at Thalia Hall Tuesday, April 30th. Tom Odell is an artist with a true passion for what he does, and this shines through when he performs. He doesn’t simply play the chords of his songs on the piano softly while he dreamily sings to a captivated audience. I mean, to be fair, he definitely does do that and we were all definitely in love with him during those moments in his performance. The real magic of the concert, however, was when Odell would break away from the mold of his music and improvise. Most of his music is written at a slower pace, but for his performances, Odell adds more drums and guitar to them in order to make the audience come alive. His hands fly across the piano as he lifts himself off of his seat and bops his head along to the music. At one point, he even began to play the harmonica with one hand while playing the piano with the other.

Image Courtesy of Fernanda Oliveira

Image Courtesy of Fernanda Oliveira

While huge concerts including millions of dollars of stage props and background dancers are exciting, Tom Odell’s simple set up was refreshing and made the concert feel like a more personal experience. At times, it was as if every member of the audience was just there to hang out with Odell. This was especially true when he stopped playing in order to describe in detail the imagery that he envisioned while writing his song, “Constellations.”

His opening act, Lucie Silvas, opened the show with some slower songs. The audience may not have been jumping up and down, but Silvas’ silky voice certainly impressed the crowd. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and her love and passion for her music were clear. She later joined Odell on stage to sing his duet, “Half as Good as You,” and their voices harmonizing together sounded perfect.

Tom Odell truly does whatever he wants during his concerts and lets the flow of his music take over. Even though he is technically on the road for his new album, “Jubilee Road,” he performed songs from all three of his albums. During the middle of his song, “Grow Old with Me,” Odell stopped playing completely. The lights went off, save for one spotlight shining solely on him. He took a deep breath, smiled at the audience, and began playing a perfect rendition of “Für Elise.” The stunned crowd laughed and applauded him. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I sure as hell was impressed.

Tom Odell’s performances are entertaining, engaging, and a whole lot of fun. His fans adore his awkward charm and are blown away by his natural talent for music. His complete mastery of the piano and the absolute ease with which he sings high notes alone are reason enough to see him in concert the next time he visits Chicago.

MusicSteven Norwalk