Jack Savoretti, Joseph J. Jones: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool

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Jack Savoretti

Jack Savoretti

Lock up your mums, husky voiced radio-rocker Jack Savoretti arrived for a sizable Merseyside show, with GetintothisDavid Hall in attendance.

Unofficial That Nice Young Man 2016/17 Jack Savoretti rocked up to Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall armed with That Song Off The Radio, for a Tuesday night of firmly middle of the road white boy pop-rock bluster.

There’s no arguing with the success he has achieved in relatively little time. Just five short years ago, Savoretti was playing a show in the basement of the Shipping Forecast in Liverpool. Now, he’s able to pack the glitzy Philharmonic Hall; a phenomenal step up by anyone’s standards.

It probably says a lot that Savoretti is no longer the chalky-voiced soundtrack to teen-inclined TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy and One Tree Hill, and more likely to be – in fact, was – voted Album of the Week on BBC Radio 2. This evolution of his template has yielded a wider audience and shaped his raw, folkish beginnings into radio-ready mid tempo stompers.

His newest material though shoots straight for the rafters; you need only hear the stultifyingly earnest Adele-esque uber-ballad Catapult for evidence of that. Crossover hit When We Were Lovers provided a predictable main set closer in Liverpool, without quite carrying the sheen live that allows the recorded version to achieve escape velocity.

Things threatened to get a little more interesting on Back Where I Belong’s almost trance-y keyboard line, or Start Living in the Moment’s guitar stabs, but felt swallowed by the more identikit MOR aspects of Savoretti’s setlist.

Other potential highlights came across as forced, meanwhile. It all went a bit like a hysterical X Factor Judges’ Houses audition during a stripped-back acoustic break in the middle of Savoretti’s set. The singer tensed and wrought every strained note, and the audience responded with a standing ovation, and none of the judges pressed their buzzers. Hold on, we’re muddling our pop culture references here.

In the intervening years since that Shipping Forecast date we mentioned, Savoretti’s success has been undeniable. Canny label backing, particularly for 2015’s Written In Scars album prompting a quick follow-up in Sleep No More last year, has resulted in top ten entries and slots on both national TV and radio.

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Maybe the big-voiced Joseph J. Jones could follow suit, but his bassy, emotive set in Liverpool felt something of a close fit as support act to the scratchy-voiced Savoretti. His more electronic-influenced material could certainly hit the right spots with some polishing in smaller venues, however.

So after an impressive rise, where next for Jack Savoretti? With material that didn’t quite feel arena-sized – and after five albums arguably never will – he’s arguably found his level.  All that and the mums in attendance were done for an early dart at 10pm. Well, it was a school night after all.

Pictures by GetintothisMartin Waters

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