I first came across Jack Savoretti in the summer of 2009. With the imminent arrival of his second album, Harder Than Easy (which was published in September of that year), he was beginning to get more coverage on the radio and it wasn’t long before his gentle voice, beautiful lyrics and his folkish charm won me over.
His debut album, Between the Minds, was full of soulful, sentimental songs like Dreamers, which willfully encouraged us to ‘look beyond the sky’, Soldier’s Eyes about the effects of war, and my personal favourite, Dr Frankenstein, about that age-old psychological struggle.
It was another couple of years before I saw Jack perform live – a gig in the 300-capacity venue The Cluny in November 2011. Playing in a small dark room to a small audience of people stood huddled around with their pints, it was incredibly raw (if I remember rightly, large parts of it were performed acoustically) and intimate.
In the years since, the Italian singer songwriter has had something of a meteoric rise to fame. Progressing from The Cluny to Sage Gateshead in 2015, on Saturday night he played tracks from his fifth studio album, Sleep No More, as the support act for the Grammy Award-winning John Legend at Metro Radio Arena.
From the moment Jack burst on to the stage for his short-but-sweet 30-minute set he had the audience hooked – which is no mean feat for a support act. His first song, Only You, was a hard hitter. With just basic staging (his logo projected on to two screens either side of the stage) and a simple band of four, he commanded the room with his voice alone. Somehow, in a room of thousands, he maintained that intimacy I’d seen before.
‘It’s Saturday night in Newcastle and anything can happen,’ he promised the audience and by the time he’d worked through his set of rock pop hits – from Home to Breaking the Rules to Whiskey Tango – we were all ready to party.
As a support act he did his job superbly, but more than that, Jack proved that he deserves his place on the big stage. He is a truly talented artist, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one downloading his album at the end of the day.
Oh and in case you were wondering, John Legend was pretty epic too – boy that man has some moves.
Jack Savoretti is supporting John Legend for the rest of his European tour. For a full list of dates visit www.jacksavoretti.com