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Big John shows joyous honesty ; EG Essential Guide nottinghampost.com/entertainment Daily Your daily guide to the county's entertainment scene, with...

November 6, 2013

YellowBrix

Big John shows joyous honesty ; EG Essential Guide nottinghampost.com/entertainment Daily Your daily guide to the county's entertainment scene, with Entertainment Editor Simon Wilson Follow @EG_Nottingham

John Newman Rescue Rooms Dominic Howell BELTING out pop tunes with the vein on his neck bulging, and his face reddening, the strapping presence of John Newman is a sight to behold.

Less isn't more with John Newman, more is.

And the sheer size of the 23-year-old adds to the spectacle.

He is at least a foot taller than the rest of his well-rehearsed band, and two backing singers, who were crammed on to a modest stage at the Rescue Rooms. Given his stature, the way he throws his weight around on stage, flicking his head, trademark quiff, and spinning on his heels, made me genuinely concerned that one miscued footing could easily have ended in the presence of paramedics.

But what am I talking about, this is the Tommy Cooper of the pop world - minus the jokes and fez - this is a man with a flash of peroxide, and all the confidence of a No. 1 album under his belt.

As he zipped through the new album, Tribute, it's clear that, despite his chart-topping collaborations with drum and bass act Rudimental, the man loves a 60s-style build-up to a lot of his songs.

And there is an engaging emotional honesty with many of his lyrics.

While other pop artists like Rihanna incessantly sing about sex, or euphemisms for sex, or how she's not getting any sex, John Newman talks about shutting out loneliness by getting out of his head (... it was a sad coincidence that this slow, poignant song was almost ruined by the loquacious tittle-tattle of a group of girls who genuinely appeared to be 'out of their heads' standing just behind me).

He sings about the pain of infidelity, about the power of love, the journey of redemption.

And there is a look of genuine joy on his face when he sees the audience clapping to his beat, in songs like Gold Dust and All I Need is You.

I'm here because of you, he said at one point in his salt-of-the- earth, thick Yorkshire accent, which made me think that behind his talent and glitzy showmanship lies a person who is humbled by his recent fame.

In summary, he can sing exceptionally, and write songs well enough.

'' John Newman sings about the pain of infidelity, about the power of love, the journey of redemption Dominic Howell

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