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Live Review: Tom Grennan, Academy 1 - Manchester

The last twelve months have seen Tom Grennan ascend into stardom this year, the 23-year-old secured a Top 5 record with his debut Lighting Matches in July and has just finished up on the road performing it to a sold-out tour across Britain which will see the Bedford lad play to over 30,000 fans.

We managed to get down to the ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ man’s Manchester date on the tour and witnessed a pure spectacle from an artist whose career is only just beginning.

Grennan has charm and charisma coming out of every pore of his body which helps forge a strong rapport with the crowd and he comes across as one of the crowd members orchestrating a mass sing-along, although the difference being is that his gritty, soulful voice is ridiculously good and partially better than the Mancunian audience’s.

Despite only having released the one record, he was already built up a diverse repertoire of songs which showcase his versatility from acoustic ballads, soulful numbers, budding Bond themes, to outright indie dancefloor bangers which gets the Manchester audience on their feet and make it a Friday night they won’t forget in a hurry.

Unconventionally, he opened on solo acoustic track ‘Sweet Hallelujah’ which is an early track that features on the deluxe edition of the album, and is a left-field choice to open with but it warms the crowd up beautifully before welcoming his band on to the stage, ditching the acoustic and bursting into floor-filler ‘Royal Highness’ which sets the tone for the rest of the gig.

The singles from the album all received a rousing reception, especially the track which has catapulted him more than any other so far which is the emphatic ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ which delivered a rush of endorphins to everyone crammed inside the venue.

When playing the more melancholic soulful songs such as ‘Lucky Ones’ and title track ‘Lighting Matches’ allow Grennan to explore his inner-Winehouse, who is a huge inspiration to him which can you hear clearly throughout his record.

The 23-year-old’s ability to manoeuvre from genre to genre has undoubtedly played a large part in his success story so far has it has endeared him to a wide variety of people who created a really diverse crowd which brought together an amazing mix of people from different backgrounds and ages who were all there just to have a good old knees up on a Friday night which was a joy to be part of.

Having witnessed Tom Grennan live earlier in the year at Sheffield’s Leadmill—which is a sizeably more intimate venue—it is incredible to see how much his stagecraft has evolved since then including bringing out a stage-dive which show it’s not just the venue sizes that are growing.

For an artist who has only released one album to this date, a set spanning 90 minutes can often become somewhat overkill but thanks to treating a receptive crowd who didn’t seem to lose concentration at any point during the show, That, in part, is thanks to some early rarities which allowed the show to take on a more well-rounded performance from a man who is only just getting started.