Tom Grennan @ 02 Institute, 17 March 2018


There is something magical when you see Tom Grennan. We can say this because it is not Birmingham Live’s first experience of Tom. Over the year we have been able to witness this magical quality that bubbles forth from his shows, transported with each show. Maybe this magical moment spurs from his humble personality, maybe it comes from his deep appreciation of his fans, maybe it’s his otherworldly talent or his ability to transcend life so purely in melodic form. We may in fact never be able to say confidently exactly how Tom creates his magic, all we can do is continuously watch in awe as Tom delivers stand out after stand out performances. On a freezing Saturday night Tom Grennan took once again to the O2 Institute stage, delivering just a little bit more magic.

Double opener Cuckoolander and Ten Tonnes opened the night. Indie dance pop Cuckoolander warmed up the crowd, her atmospheric dance tunes creating a vortex of sound and motion.

Rock singer songwriter Ten Tonnes was up next. His undisputable depth of sound comes from both his incredible voice as well as his instrumental talent. A mixture of 70’s rock and vibey pop, Ten Tonnes’ songs added a different quality to the night. After a quick switchover and a couple of microphone checks the lights dimmed and on sauntered Tom Grennan and band.

Grennan opened the night with somber acoustic ‘Sweet Hallelujah.’ The stripped back opener was not the blazer that some artists open with, but rather the emotionally stirring acoustic ballad displayed the power of Grennan’s insane voice. As waves of sound washed over the crowd everyone stilled, taking in this ambient transcendence that only Tom could pull off. The hypnotic intro was quickly shifted as ‘Praying’ blasted through. Flashes of light encircled the crew as they delivered the upbeat jazzy pop tune.

Tom proceeded to bless the audience with a few new tunes. Coming from his highly anticipated first full album, set to be released early July, the new tunes showed off the expansion of sound that will be present. While the heart and soul of Tom is still very much in the forefront, a mixture of sonic elements display the natural expansion of the growing artist. The new tunes were broken by ‘I Might;’ bathed in pink lights Tom roared through the song. ‘Barbed Wire,’ ‘Royal Highness,’ and ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ closed out the night. Grennan returned solo, playing an acoustic ‘Something in the Water’ for the encore.

A mixture of older fan favourites and exciting new songs constructed Tom Grennan’s O2 Institute set. His undeniable power vocals paired with his flirty banter drew the crowd in, creating a glee filled atmosphere. For a moment Tom Grennan stopped time, all that was real was him and his band, their truth played through their songs. Each fan left a little different, more elated and filled, this magical atmosphere that is seemingly present at every Tom Grennan gig.

Reviewer: Kylie McCormick

Photographer: Marc Osborne

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