Review: Jack Savoretti at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Victor Ariat

Smooth sailing for Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra at Portsmouth Guildhall

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If you really want to go out for a chat with your mates, you could save the £13 price of the ticket and just go to the pub.

When even the act on stage asks jokingly if the incessant ‘shush’ing is aimed at him, perhaps you might take the hint.

Anyway, Jack Savoretti, a self-described ‘Transatlantic mutt’, opened the tour to plug his new album, Written in Scars, in some style.

With the band playing a simmering Spanish guitar intro, it was straight into the album’s feisty title track.

In a set that cherry-picked from all four of his albums, Savoretti was an engaging host. And as he notes, with the album only released the day before: ‘People are already singing along – I’ve never had that the day after an album’s come out. You might know the words better then me.’

While the band are slick performers, when they leave Savoretti for a solo spot mid-show he raises his game – playing early singles Dreamers and Once Upon a Street, rolling the latter into Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire in a neat segue.

New track The Other Side of Love also proves a highlight. The recorded version is a remix away from being a club hit and it shows Savoretti’s willingness to take a risk and move away from the usual singer-songwriter fare.

The raucous rockabilly of Knock Knock is throwaway fun, but by now, the full house were lapping up Jack’s every move.

An encore of his cover of the Bob Dylan rarity Nobody ‘Cept You is introduced as a song ‘that potentially saved my life,’ and offers a more heartfelt side than was on display for much of this gig.

With the likes of George Ezra and Paolo Nutini packing out bigger venues, there’s no reason on this evidence why Savoretti shouldn’t be doing the same.