Jamie Cullum might not be a familiar name to all, but in my opinion he’s got to be one of the most engaging and talented live acts out there, who always seems to (undeservedly) fly under the radar. Boasting an impressive backlog of 8 studio albums, a radio show and multiple music festival appearances, the jazz-pop singer-songwriter has been performing for over 20 years; from tiny bars to massive stages, he’s near enough done it all at this point.
I’ve been lucky enough to see him once, at a small intimate gig in Bristol’s Colston’s Hall. It was electric. Cullum was jumping off the piano, riffing and improvising whole new parts of his songs on the piano, constantly speaking to and encouraging the audience to dance with him (he has the whole lot of us on our feet), and somehow jumping around the stage whilst still singing his songs perfectly. My favourite part of the night was, when the gig was coming to a close, Cullum leaning forward at his piano and quietly saying ‘You know, if you all run down to the front at once, security can’t stop you.’. And you know I fully leapt out of my seat and sprinted down to the front of the auditorium, standing only a few feet away from the band as Cullum closed the show with a jazzed up rendition of his hit ‘twentysomething’. I’ve been to many a gig in my time (my bank account weeps), but this one, despite being so lowkey, will always stand out in my memory.
In terms of his actual music, Cullum varies from genre to genre, usually sticking somewhere in the vicinity of jazz, R&B and the occasional dip into classic swing. Alongside his fantastic original music (I’d for sure recommend checking out The Pursuit, a personal favourite of mine), he also regularly performs covers at his gigs, ranging from a laidback, smooth cover of Rihanna’s ‘Please Don’t Stop the Music’, to The Weekend’s ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’, to Frank Ocean’s ‘Thinkin Bout You’. He’s a triple threat; his piano skills, despite not being classically trained, are off the charts, he’s a charismatic showman, and his voice is fantastic.
Cullum’s new tour for album ‘Taller’ has been unfortunately postponed due to the coronavirus, but if and when he returns for his next string of live shows across the UK, I 100% would recommend going to see him. If you like good music, a good time, and an absolutely fantastic performer, Jamie Cullum is certainly the live act for you.
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