It was a loud Tuesday night at the Mod Club as two UK performers hit the stage with very different but dynamic styles. Barns Courtney and Tom Odell both electrified the venue in their own way.
You know, one of these days Barns Courtney is going to get charged with arson for the way he keeps lighting stages on fire (metaphorically speaking of course).
But it’s true. It’s one guy and one guitar, and yet he commands the attention of the room. It doesn’t seem like it at first, as he strolls out, unassuming and without any sort of flashy stage design. Then he starts belting out his soulful bangers and you understand the hype.
That’s what happened when he took to the Mod Club stage under a few lights. With only his acoustic guitar he played a ferocious set, stopping occasionally to relay some endearingly awkward anecdotes about his lack of a British accent (he was born in Seattle) and his preferred budget food (cans of sardines).
It was the Mod Club that was packed like sardines however, singing along to his hits “Fire” and “Glitter & Gold”. Thumping his guitar with thrilling precision to punctuate the rhythm, Courtney gave the impression you were watching a seasoned veteran perform. The young performer is only starting out his solo career but it looks like he’s going to be one to watch.
Tom Odell, by contrast, had a full stage with not just guitars but two drum sets and a grand piano he played in the middle of it all. Also from the UK, the singer-songwriter employed a different approach to entertain the crowd.
With a sound informed by the 70s and 80s pop rock scene, Odell brings to mind legends like Elton John or Billy Joel along with more contemporary peers like Andrew McMahon. Oscillating between bouncy melodic romps and lovelorn ballads, he constantly drew thunderous applause and cheers from the eager crowd. Hits like “Another Love” and “Magnetized” had everyone chanting the lyrics, showing off Odell’s devoted fanbase. Gracious and extremely pleasant, the indie popper pounded away on the ivories with an engaging set not to be forgotten any time soon.