Dimly lit, it was wall-to-wall with Tom Grennan’s fans inside the Shipping Forecast. As well as it being the last night on his tour, tickets for this highly anticipated headline gig sold out months in advance, making it an extra special night. Cider in hand, I made my way to the front during the support act, Barns Courtney, a singer-songwriter whose style of music was the perfect introduction to the night.
When Grennan appeared, he was greeted with a huge roar from the crowd, and began with Old Songs, a favourite of mine. Dressed in a flat cap, at first he only had his guitar to accompany him, but then his band joined him on stage and the show ignited. Immediately the crowd was rocking back and forth, singing the words back to him. It was an extremely impressive introduction for a singer who has, to date, only released one EP.
After some crowd movement and with more eager arrivals, I settled into the second row, which was vital in order to actually see who was playing. The Shipping Forecast’s basement has no stage, something that on the one hand makes the venue very intimate, but on the other makes you feel a bit guilty for those who are several rows back and who probably have a view of the back of someone’s head. When Grennan was playing his set, the room was filled with adoration for him. In fact, he was that good, I struggled to understand why he wasn’t playing in a bigger venue (and a proper stage!).
One of the highlights of the gig was Sweet Hallelujah. It’s the last song off his Something in the Water EP, and is arguably the song which most shows off his incredible voice. He sang with his hands behind his back, and effortlessly held the longest note I’ve ever heard. You could have heard a pin drop in the basement, and it was at this point in the gig that we felt his full potential. We knew that what we were witnessing was someone who could be selling out arenas in the future, but we were seeing it in a small, but well-loved, venue in Liverpool. He captivated his audience, and we were in the palm of his hands.
Included in his set were debut songs such as Giving It All, which received the same amount of enthusiasm from the crowd as some of his better-known songs did. Often at gigs, especially with less established artists, there is a dip in the audience’s energy halfway through, but Grennan’s show was different. He managed to keep the energy going throughout, such that the crowd were open and keen to hear songs they had never heard before. Because we knew that even if we didn’t know the words this time, we definitely would soon.
Throughout the gig, Tom took time to introduce different tracks, and to interact with the crowd. He told us he wanted to meet every one of us in the bar afterwards, and he meant it. As the night was drawing to a close, plastic cups were raised to the ceiling and we all sang along, in very high spirits, to his most well-known tunes, Praying and Something in the Water.
Finally, the set ended with an acoustic version of All Goes Wrong, the track which kick-started his career. He left the stage, and left us wishing that he would sing for another hour or two. The night was short, with the set being only 40 minutes, but it was definitely sweet. Unlike so many musicians I had seen play before, Grennan openly said that he would not perform an encore. This was actually something which many of us found refreshing, and somewhat fitting and cool for this very down-to-earth lad. All in all, this was a night of great music and definitely good times. Expect big things to come from Bedford’s rising star.
Tom Grennan’s new EP is due for release on the 10th March.