Review: Tom Odell @ Westonbirt Arboretum

I first encountered the beauty that is a Tom Odell concert back in October 2013 a couple of months after the release of his debut album Long Way Down. I returned home from Bristol O2 that night having never been so enthralled by a singer-songwriter before. The next morning I booked tickets to his next tour which were, luckily for my sanity, already on sale. The following February I got to experience Tom do his thing live once more and in the time between the two gigs my love of his music had grown immensely. (I even went on to write about that gig here)!

Now, here I am, still recovering from what was the third, and best, of Toms live shows I've seen to date. He's had such a transformation since I first saw him and has well and truly grown into himself. Never before had I seen Tom leave the safety of his piano in such confidence, let alone go on to jump around and sing a whole song with his two lovely backing singers. Over the years he has developed an incredible stage presence to complement the voice we know so well.

The idea of having a tour around some of Britain's forests just fills me with joy. Never before have I had the chance to experience live music outdoors encircled by trees and greenery. Arriving among the first of a few early birds meant we could stroll our way right up to the barrier with ease. I've never actually stood right at the barrier before and let me tell you I was grateful to spend the night without the usual occurrence of strands of hair from the person in front of me flying into my face on regular occasions.

Very different but equally impressive performances from Alfie Connor and Rae Morris brought the evening to life. Both had a different approach to how they performed, each complemented by their style of music. It was also lovely to see that alongside their band, the pair played their own instruments and thoroughly enjoyed their time on stage. A field full of people in pop up chairs with a beer in hand swiftly became a field full of people up on their feet dancing, having eagerly downed their beers in joy. The music was well and truly foot-stompingly good- bringing that classic adjective back from my last Tom Odell post!

With a set list that was a mix of both old & new and upbeat & slow, the crowd was greeted with a night of laughter and dancing as the sun slowly went down over Westonbirt. A splash of rain whilst queueing was enough to panic everyone into whipping waterproof ponchos over their heads but it passed over as quickly as it arrived. A weather forecast that anticipated thunderstorms didn't predict a very positive outcome but we were blessed with a dry and cool evening. No need for any anoraks or welly boots at Westonbirt!!

I have never been more pleased in my life than I was when I heard the opening 1, 2, 1, 2, 3, 4 of Hold Me. If my all time favourite hadn't been on the set list my heart probably would have suffered. Newer songs that don't feature on Long Way Down (but will hopefully feature on his new album!), including Friday Night, Resist, Constellations and Somehow were met with wide appreciation. They were a real highlight of just how far Tom has come as a musician.

Now I lie in wait, yet again, for news of up and coming tour dates - or perhaps, dare I say it, a new album? If I remember correctly, I ended my post last February in hope of a new album that year in 2014. TWENTY FOURTEEN. That was like, what, a whole year ago?? I have high hopes for new music if it's anything like we heard last Saturday. Go Tom, you well and truly smashed it again.


School is finally over and I think an apology for the rushed posts I've published this exam season is well overdue. I'd sit down to write a post and discover that I had another exam the next day. I can finally say, after months of revision, each of my 20 exams are finished. I've left school and I have 11 weeks ahead of me full of  the unknown. Who knows what life after school will bring. I've never been one for change, but for once in my life I actually feel excited for what the future will consist of.

One thing I can promise you is that I am leaving a lot of my time free for my blog. I've got a small job working in a little garden centre packaging flowers for order as a new experience for the summer. This doesn't mean that my evenings and days off won't be spent with my friends, taking photographs and encountering new things that I can write about. I'm not going to lie, I've not been happy with the content I've put out for the last few months. Everything feels rushed and I just haven't had the time to put that extra bit of effort into my posts. I think I've outgrown my layout slightly and need a bit of a re-vamp. Perhaps I really am becoming a lover of change.

I hope these next weeks will give me the perfect opportunity to work on my blog and create something I am happy with and can be proud of. There is nothing I love more than taking the time out of my day to write here and I can't even imagine what I used to do with my free time beforehand. Now my evenings don't have to consist of answering practice questions on Biology (which was the only subject I weirdly enjoyed revising) or trying to map out how I used acting skills in every one of my drama performances across the past two years. I can actually share posts like I used to before I seemed to be drowning in exam papers.

There is nothing I appreciate more than having my own safe space, a platform where I can share anything I wish. Rather than post just anything I feel like I want to channel my posts more to fit me as a person. If I have one aim for the next 11 weeks it's to give this page a bit of a transformation into something that I would be proud to share with those around me.

For some people I get that the whole idea of running a blog may seem odd, or even stupid (thanks Ollie), but for me it's something that makes me happy. If writing makes me happy then I will do just that. I'm not a woman of many talents but this is something that I like to think I can actually do or even just enjoy. Crazy I know. It was a family member of mine who suggested I set up a blog to help me in a career in journalism one day and who would of known it would have grown into something that I would love putting so much time into.

I hope I'll see you an awful lot over the next few weeks and look out for a review of the lovely Tom Odell (yes, I went to see him live again!!) over the upcoming days. All the love.

One Direction

This is probably the lamest blog post ever written in the history of blogging but since the naive eyes of 12 year old Katie encountered the What Makes You Beautiful video back in 2011 she never really recovered??!! Will I ever get over my love of Harry Styles many may ask? The answer, I regret to inform you, is no. Never. Thanks to the ACE zoom on my camera I was able to zoom in on his dancing alllll niiight long last Saturday night.

UPDATE: It's been one week since Mollie and I saw One Direction & McBusted at the Cardiff Millenium Stadium in seats 11, 12 and 13 of block L21. I would love to be able to say that my head has got around that it actually happened but it still hasn't. I still spend my evenings listening to my videos on repeat and mourning the fact that time travelling still doesn't exist (someone should probably work on that- and fast).

McBusted performed a mixture of songs off their new album and a collection of old Mcfly and Busted Hits. Opening the show with Air Hostess and closing it with Year 3000 had everyone in a buzz. There setlist was brilliant (mostly because they played songs I knew every word to) and it was good to learn we were in among a very enthusiastic crowd. A highlight of the night was definitely the whole stadium doing the macarena and the 7 massive Mexican waves that occurred one after another with participation from everyone in the room. Saying that the real highlight was obviously every single One Direction song.

I can't pick an overall favourite moment. It's impossible. It was so good that in the morning both Mollie and I didn't want to open our eyes because it meant it was all over.

Every song was paired with some videos or little animations behind the boys over the massive screen. When they weren't walking along the walkway and couldn't be seen as easily you could watch them over the screens as if you were right up close. This was complemented by fire, streamers and sparks flying up into the air, they put on one HELL of a show. Girl Almighty, Stockholm Syndrome, Story of My Life and the finale Best Song Ever were my favourites live. Picking those four songs is the hardest decision I've ever had to make.

Many tears were shed at Little Things and Nialls solo got the best reception ever. When everyone shouted the words back at him you could just tell he was chuffed to bits and it melted my heart.

It was nice to be seated and not have to be thrown into the pit of screaming crying 12 year olds but all I wanted to do was get up and dance. Everyone knows it's an unspoken rule that you should remain seated if the people behind you are so they can still see. They NEVER stood up!!!! :( For Best Song Ever, the last song, we got on our feet and danced, stomped and waved our hands in the air like there was no tomorrow.

I'm so grateful that the night went slowly and didn't fly by as I had expected. I just wish I could do it all over again. I have never been so grateful for my parents driving us all the way and back. You rock.