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© 2017 The Strand Magazine

Tom Rosenthal at St Pancras Old Church - 15.03.19

March 19, 2019

Photo credit: Siddarth Khajuria 

 

Tom Rosenthal’s almost eight-year career has seen many highlights. His unique melancholic folk/pop sound has graced several high-profile TV shows, major films and a Vodafone advertisement campaign. He has built a passionate and dedicated fan base, amassing over sixty million Spotify plays and a large portfolio of five albums and four EPs. Yet, this series of small-scale gigs at St Pancras Old Church are his first venture into the world of live performance. All this considered, it is not so surprising that the originally planned single date has expanded to three after tickets sold out in seconds – also spawning larger UK and European tours due later this year, and attracting an audience from as far afield as Canada and Mauritius.

 

This more than worthy resumé makes Rosenthal’s humility all the more charming – and it permeates this show from the get go. The venue is tiny, draughty, but incredibly atmospheric: lit very simply and highlighted by a couple of votive candles making it obvious that, in fact, this gorgeous space is a functioning church. The banner below his keyboard is made by his wife, a talented artist. The bare bones accompaniment of only a single cellist and guitarist is minimalist for even the most stripped-down of his repertoire, but is more than enough to fill the high ceilings - and reflects his musical style perfectly: effortless, emotive, and wonderfully personal.

 

Tom is able to segue seamlessly from existential sorrow to jolly comedy. The haunting harmonies of ‘It’s OK’ make way for for the brightness of firm fan favourites such as ‘P.A.S.T.A’ and ‘Watermelon’ without so much as a hiccup, in a section midway through the set humorously branded as the ‘fun sing-a-long bit’, where the audience does actually sing along and not just to the uplifting numbers! ‘Go Solo’, by far his most popular track, is accompanied by a makeshift choir of concertgoers; all enthusiastic, and, unfortunately unusual for a gig these days, all present. There is only an occasional phone rising to take a picture - a small yet refreshing observation.

 

Separate from its usual dressing of thick harmony, the true power of Tom’s voice flourishes in live performance. He jokes that it has taken him thirty-two years to play his first gig - and as he leaves the stage to a rapturous applause, I am incredibly excited for what is to come. This small performance provides just a hint of his wide repertoire’s potential, and is clear proof of his artistic versatility.

 

 

Edited by Dimitrina Dyakova, Deputy Digital Editor

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