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Concert review: Jamie Cullum opens jazz festival with a show as walloping as it is mesmerising

Published on Feb 28, 2014 10:22 AM

Fans of British jazzman Jamie Cullum know enough to expect earthy, infectious grooves and high-octane jives from him.

Even so, the livewire with the sandpapered voice outdid himself at the Grand Theatre, Marina Bay Sands, on Thursday (Feb 27), delivering a firecracker of a performance as well as rib-tickling asides on Britain's dire weather, how warm Singaporeans are and how tight his washer-shrunk jeans were. The last had the audience yelling "Take it off!"; diminuitive Cullum demurred, saying it would be "highly unsexy" to see him prising his pants off "with a knife".

He had burst onto the stage with The Same Thing, from his latest album Momentum, and went on for more than 18 songs - some rolled into medleys - in just over 90 minutes. When this human jukebox said firmly that his whoa-a-a croon would be the night's final song, his sated listeners abided by that.

For much of the evening, he belted his heart out while making like a kid let loose in a toy shop, now walloping the skins so hard, his drumstick flew off, and then standing atop and leaping off the piano whenever he was not thumping its body rhythmically or manipulating its strings. "Don't worry, we're insured," he quipped when his string-twanging yielded disconcerting wibble-wobbles.

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