Concert review: Olly Murs and Jackie Thomas, ASB Theatre

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Olly Murs performed his first show in New Zealand at the ASB Theatre. Photo / Creative Commons
Olly Murs performed his first show in New Zealand at the ASB Theatre. Photo / Creative Commons

Remember Jackie Thomas? The girl won the first New Zealand X Factor a few months back?

Since the release of her self-titled album and her single It's Worth It, we haven't heard too much from Miss Thomas. Until last night when the 22-year-old songstress opened for British pop-star and fellow The X Factor alumni, Olly Murs.

With her power-house voice, she reminded us all why she was crowned the winner. Jackie Thomas definitely still has the 'X Factor'.

Looking at home on stage with her new band, Thomas belted out covers of Next To Me by Emeli Sande and Corinne Bailey Rae's Put Your Records On. She also played her original X Factor audition song, Skinny Love, which captivated the audience as it swelled into an epic final note.

X Factor winner, Jackie Thomas.
X Factor winner, Jackie Thomas.

There were, however, moments in songs such as Florence + The Machine's Dog Days are Over where she strained to hit notes that were just on the edge of her vocal range.

It is understandable with Thomas being relatively new to the music game, but with her obvious talent she has the potential to go far once she finds her own sound. I look forward to seeing what she does when she eventually releases more original tracks.

Nervous excitement bubbled from Thomas as she ended with It's Worth It, squeaking "Thank you! I did it!" before welcoming Olly Murs and leaving the stage.

Thomas seemed to be aware of what a great opportunity it was for her to open for an international act, especially one who has travelled the road that she herself could be heading on next.

As for Olly Murs, it must be surreal going from a sold out arena in Japan, opening for boy band One Direction, to performing for the first time in New Zealand for his own headlining show.

Olly Murs kicked off his New Zealand/Australia tour at the ASB theatre in Auckland, singing Army of Two, exuding a presence that blew Jackie out of the water.

Screaming girls quickly jumped out of their seats, rushing to the front of the stage to sing along word-for-word. Soon the whole room was on their feet, swaying and twisting as Murs went on to perform doo-wop-esque Dance With Me Tonight.

Murs definitely knows how to work a crowd. A natural performer, he spent the entire night spinning and dancing across the stage, kissing lucky fans on the hand and keeping arms waving in the air.

Sporting some ridiculously tight jeans and his signature fedora, Murs owned the night, radiating a genuine joy while performing. He looked like he was having a ball.

Even slower ballads such as Hand On My Heart and Dear Darling had so much energy behind them, making them feel just as upbeat as his pop-fueled tracks.

Some of his songs bordered on cheesiness, though - Murs wasn't there to take himself too seriously.

Between songs Murs indulged in cheeky banter with the crowd, sharing stories and meanings behind songs and even attempting a haka. He also talked a bit about his time on the UK X Factor, in which he placed secondnd in 2009, before going on to perform his own audition song, Superstition by Stevie Wonder, which went down a treat.

Even when he started to lose his voice near the end of the night, due to a cold (which he apologised for profusely), Olly Murs' show was high energy and a lot of fun. During his encore performance of Troublemaker, the ASB theatre turned into a massive dance party.

Murs has an obvious love for the stage, putting a lot passion into his songs, which made his show one that a lot of people will have enjoyed.

Who: Olly Murs supported by Jackie Thomas
Where: ASB Theatre, Auckland
When: November 7

- nzherald.co.nz

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