Review: Jack Savoretti at O2 Guildhall, Southampton

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Jack Savoretti‘s music can be a little hard to define; bluesy, folky and a little rocky, if he hits it right. But regardless of what is on offer, a long history with performing and a clear love of the sort of music he is proud to play shines through. Fresh from listening to his new album Sleep No More, released just last week, The Edge sent me along to his sold-out show at the O2 Guildhall to try and pin down what makes the singer songwriter such enjoyable listening.

The show opened promptly with Jones, a soloist with a beautifully strong voice. She provided smooth electro pop, singing the sort of bold (if a little humble) tracks that would fit seamlessly into our contemporary chart line up of female vocalists. She had a tangible excitement to perform, and an authenticity which shone through, particularly during slow numbers. A highlight was track ‘Waterloo’, a soulful yet sizzling melancholy number about how lonely big cities can be. Properly warming the crowd up from a quiet start, by the end of her set each song got a loud cheer – but from the anticipation in the air it was clear who everyone was really here to see.

Savoretti offered a warm and intimate set of songs, the tone set from his opener of ‘Sleep No More’. The stage was cloaked in smoke, a spotlight casting a hazy silhouette around his strong profile. When he transitioned into the song ‘Deep Water’ – the lyrics such as ‘No I won’t give up, but I might give in’ sung a little like a lament – that spotlight turned a sort of bleak, cold grey. Tonight the Guildhall did itself proud, with the lighting embellishing percussion, following rhythms like a heartbeat and really making what could have been a visually one-note show full of detail. It might not be the most lavishly decorated venue, but the imposing ceilings and fabulous architecture apparently made it the coolest room Savoretti had ever played on tour. He said so himself.

Whether by dropping anecdotes between songs (how he did a tour of 68 Cafe Nero’s across the UK in “a rubbish car, I won’t name any names. It was a Vauxhall”) or whether simply in the palpable sincerity with which he played, Jack Savoretti offered what I could probably describe as among the most authentic gigs of my life. His songs sounded rich and hearty in the live treatments offered, a sort of full-bodied wow, there’s a band right here. He offered repeated thanks to his audience and supporters, who in the room spanned from ages 10 to 80. It stood as a testament to the identifiability of his music. Songs for the sad, songs for the romantic, and songs for the revolutionary.

Savoretti stepped back on to the music stage in 2015 having taken a break, uncomfortable with the commercial or otherwise forced direction his music was having to take. His sound here was anything but. Warm and honest, at times thick like treacle for ‘Lullaby Loving’ or energetic and empowering for the foot-stomping final anthem ‘Written In Scars’, Savoretti put on a fabulous show. And he did so by staying true to who he is – and letting everyone listening discover a little about who they are, too.

Jack Savoretti is on tour through November, with tickets available now.

 

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Features Editor 2015/16. Marine biology PhD student and mint chocolate lover. Sorry I give everything five stars, I just have a lot of love in my heart.

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