Tom Grennan returned to the stage “where it all started” for the final two performances of a triumphant six-show sold-out ‘residency’ at Esquires in Bedford on Sunday.
The chart-topping singer songwriter announced the hometown gigs in March and after the initial dates sold out in seconds, a total of six shows were subsequently announced.
Grennan topped the UK’s Official Albums Chart with his second LP Evering Road, the follow up to his acclaimed 2018 album Lighting Matches, and next month he will head out on a 16-date UK tour - which includes a gig at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Take a quick look at other number one artists with a similar clout to Grennan (17 million a month streams on Spotify alone) and you suspect the majority would take the ‘easy’ option and settle for a single homecoming gig at a cavernous arena or in lieu of that, maybe their local park.
Both of course have their place, but Grennan’s decision to play six shows across three dates at Esquires speaks volumes about the singer-songwriter, the venue’s importance to him and its significance within the wider live music scene.
So, in recent weeks fans from across Bedford and from across the country, descended on Esquires for some of the smallest gigs you’ll see Grennan playing for the foreseeable.
There were numerous points during his fifth ‘matinee’ gig on Sunday afternoon that he stopped to talk about Esquires.
“I feel like this is where it all started, on this stage,” he said mid set.
While in recent years Grennan has returned to Esquires for high-profile sold-out shows, he’s previously supported the likes of Wolf Alice and The Milk and he honed his craft at the venue early on in his career playing countless times in the bar and in early bands.
Grennan arrived on stage on Sunday to a rapturous welcome after a short set by The Scruff.
His nine-track set mainly comprised of tracks from Evering Road, a few from his debut and his recent collaboration with Calvin Harris.
To be fair, he could have picked any number of other tracks and those packed inside Esquires would have been equally enamoured.
Grennan was joined by regular guitarist Danny Connors, two backing singers and fourth member on keys.
After opening with Amen, by the time back-to-back hits of Found What I’ve Been Looking For and Little Bit Of Love arrived, the atmosphere inside Esquires was electric.
After the aforementioned Harris collaboration of By Your Side, Grennan ended with Something In The Water.
After 18-months of venues largely standing empty, seeing one full is still enough to send a shiver down your spine.
While other acts have returned to Esquires’ stage since it reopened following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, having Bedford’s hometown hero back for six gigs was a perfect way for the venue to usher in the rest of 2021.
Tom Grennan played:
Never Be A Right Time
This Is The Place , ,
Found What I’ve Been Looking For
Little Bit Of Love
Make My Mind Up
By Your Side
Something In The Water