Perhaps fittingly, it poured it down on the night where Tom Chaplin (frontman of Keane) brought his ‘Carried By The Wave’ tour to De Montfort Hall Leicester. By the end of the night, any lingering negativity regarding the weather had thankfully been washed away.
Promoting his decent debut solo-album, The Wave, Chaplin’s angelic vocals soared in a venue renowned for its excellent acoustics, somehow making it all sound remarkably easy. Set-opener ‘Still Waiting’ highlights his supporting musicians’ aptitude in switching instruments, going from violin to keyboard to guitar whilst providing also backing vocals.
Lead-single ‘Hardened Heart’ follows, being one of many songs on the album that allude to the singer’s well-documented troubles with substance abuse. The juxtaposition of the bleak lyrics with the sprightly instrumentals are even more apparent live – Chaplin bounces around the stage, exploding into life on the chorus, taking enjoyment in singing about the fact he’s conquered his demons.
The output of his album is spread across the lengthy set-list, with the show inevitably being punctuated by the odd Keane song. The band’s debut album, the 9x platinum-selling Hopes and Fears, is unsurprisingly well-represented, with ‘Bend and Break’ and ‘Bedshaped’ supporting the hit-singles ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ and ‘Everybody’s Changing’. It feels a little ignorant to draw attention away from the material that is the subject of the tour, but Chaplin acknowledges their importance in helping him reach this point.
Between every couple of songs, he takes the time to slowly chip away at the barrier between himself and the audience – not so much an exposè, but an insight into how he channelled his problems into the songs. Whilst the process of touring can understandably be considered rigorous, Chaplin genuinely seems like he cares, at one point noting how he now cherishes these moments in light of his previous troubles. In a wonderful gesture, he welcomes on the local Enderby Youth Band to assist with the brass elements on a couple of songs, consolidating a trope of his tour in which he hopes to incorporate elements of the community at each show.
His likeable personality and truly sensational vocal ability helped to create a superb concert experience, with the acoustics of the venue bolstering his already-fantastic sound. For someone who sings in a reasonably high-pitched register, it’s remarkable that Chaplin never once falters, offering a friendly reminder of just how pleasant it is to watch someone ply their trade so effortlessly.