REVIEW Tom Chaplin, The Glee Club

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Sometimes breaking away from a band and going solo can make or break your career; for Tom Chaplin that hasn’t been the case.

The Keane frontman took to the stage of The Glee Club last night for a sold out intimate gig – I’m talking no more than 150 people here – for the penultimate night of The Wave Tour.

Before even stepping into the venue there was an infectious buzz in the ever-growing queue that stretched right back to The Hippodrome, and it was clear that fans couldn’t wait to get inside.

After a stunning set delivered by Matt Maltese, who was the perfect support act for Tom’s tour, the lights dropped and Chaplin and his band were welcomed to the stage with cheers, claps and screams.

Looking trim on stage Chaplin broke straight into the opening track on his debut solo album Still Waiting. “Birmingham, it’s so good to be back,” he bellowed.

Chaplin seemed to be totally caught in the moment during songs, but he still invited the crowd to get involved and enjoy themselves. “You’re very quiet,” he said, “You’re more than welcome to sing, scream, clap – do whatever you want.”

Granted Chaplin was quick to admit that he wasn’t feeling on top form quite early on, but that didn’t seem to stop him from delivering a spellbinding set. “I think I picked up something on the train, I’m worried that my voice is on its way out, but you guys can help me, right?” he said.

All I have to say is if Chaplin sounded so incredible with a throat that was so bad that at one point he stated that he considered having to leave the stage, then I can’t fathom how powerful his voice must be on a good day.

His sore throat became a fun discussion point between Tom and his fans, with the crowd suggesting he should treat himself to some honey and lemon, or warm blackcurrant; not to mention the constant screams of “You can do it, Tom!” being expressed on numerous occasions.

“When I sing I can’t do a half-baked version of a song, it’s all or nothing for me,” Chaplin said. And he certainly did give his all, even when he had to take to the piano after stating that he simply couldn’t perform track Bring the Rain as to use his own words, “it’s probably the song with the highest notes that I’ve ever written.”

I’ve been to many gigs over the years, but never have a been to one quite as spectacular as this. As Chaplin worked his way through the soothing tracks from The Wave, the crowd were simply in awe of him, the venue so quiet at points you could easily hear a pin drop.

Of course, the set included some crowd pleasers. Keane tracks Silenced by the Night and Sovereign Light Café sent fans wild. But it was Chaplin’s encore that rounded off the night perfectly when his band broke into Everybody’s Changing, that saw the crowd singing so loud that it even gave Chaplin a moment to rest his voice.

Before rounding off his set with the stunning See It So Clear, Chaplin said: “I was really struggling with my voice, but thanks to you guys and some miracle we’re here and we’ve made it through. When you’re in a room surrounded by incredible people it has the ability to change everything, thank you.”

You can catch Tom when he returns to Birmingham next year for his headline tour at Symphony Hall on May 23.

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