Teddy Swims review – dark’n’stormy soul singer shakes the room

Teddy Swims review – dark’n’stormy soul singer shakes the room

Look at Teddy Swims, and you’d think twice before crossing him. The Atlanta, Georgia native cuts an imposing figure: leather trench coat, a face-consuming beard and a body overcome with tattoos, snaking up his neck and crawling on to his face. And then there is that voice. It hits like a tall glass of dark’n’stormy, totally consuming a room. But he tells the first audience of his two-night run at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire: “I’m not a little bitch, but I cry every day.”

Teddy Swims at Shepherd’s Bush Empire.View image in fullscreen

Therein lies the magic. He wants you to stay hydrated; he wants you to call your mother and tell her you love her. His blue-eyed soul YouTube covers amassed nine-figure view counts, and with the world enraptured by his voice, he released originals on his debut album I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy. So confident is Teddy Swims in his performance that the only music video for his enormous hit Lose Control (currently in its 18th week in the UK Top 10) is a live one.

The closing-time blues of What More Can I Say is elevated to a stadium-worthy sound backed by his full band. There’s some heavy musical artillery here, but with his performance of Some Things I’ll Never Know, alone in the spotlight, you wouldn’t notice the difference. His voice is capable of the same emotion and bombast as any instrument; this gentle ballad earns him a drawn-out standing ovation. Tearfully, he says in his molasses-thick southern lilt, “I hope this is a blessing, what I’m about to say. Acceptance is worth the journey.” People are as enraptured with him as if this were the gospel at Sunday service.

Having released only one album followed by a “1.5” edition of it, even a voice like Teddy Swims’ starts to repeat the same trick as the set progresses. But with a rendition of his famed cover of Shania Twain’s You’re Still the One, administered like the kiss of life, there’s still something to be said for trying a little tenderness.

Source: theguardian.com