A Brit at the House of Blues

Courtesy of Radio Records Inc.

Courtesy of Radio Records Inc.

In 2009, the world was introduced to Olly Murs, a 29-year-old Essex boy who was sick of his telemarketing job and wanted to pursue his passion for entertaining. Olly auditioned for “The X-Factor UK” and immediately created a splash. Although he only placed second, Olly has been recognized for his music not only in the UK with his debut album entering the charts at number two and his becoming a TV personality, but also in the U.S., where he toured with One Direction and got airplay on American radio.

The House of Blues in Anaheim was filled to capacity on Wednesday, May 15 for Olly’s last night on tour. Men and women alike of all different ages filed into the tightly packed venue. When the time finally came for Olly to take the stage, high-pitched screams overtook the chanting of his name in anticipation for his arrival.

A mix of old school Stevie Wonder jazz sounds with a touch of Brit pop, Olly is an exciting act to watch with his signature dancing and powerhouse voice. Joining him on stage were his ever-present back-up singers (Jon and Darren), who add flare to the show with their gospel-like vocals and equally entertaining dancing.

If there were to be any critique of Olly’s performance, it would be that his dancing was a tad bit too mature for the audience. Call me old-fashioned, but I would not want my 11-year-old sister to be watching any man thrusting his hips and seductively touching himself. Although his dancing is fantastic overall, it was just a little too much at times.

Olly’s set consisted of a good mix between his upbeat dance numbers and heartfelt ballads.

Songs such as “Dance with Me Tonight,” “Right Place Right Time” and “Oh My Goodness” had everyone jiving, while “I Need You Now” and “Hand On Heart” had the crowd swaying and pulling their phones out to mimic lighters.

Halfway through the hour and a half set, Olly tested the audience to find his biggest fans. Singing small clips of songs from his first two albums, “Olly Murs” and “In Case You Didn’t Know,” which were only released in the UK, Olly had the audience fill in the blanks. It was astounding how many people sang back at him at the top of their lungs.

After the fun sing-a-long, Olly did his one cover of the evening, “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. He sang the same rendition that he performed for his audition on “The X Factor,” which has received over seven million views on YouTube and had Simon Cowell saying, “This is the easiest yes I have ever given.”

As one of his last songs, Olly sang one of his no.1 UK hits, “Heart Skips a Beat,” which had everyone jumping around and dancing. When the crowd finally settled down, Olly announced that the next song would be the last of the evening.

“I don’t like encores where you go offstage and come back onstage after everyone cheers,” Olly said. “You all know they are coming back. It’s rubbish!”

With that being said, Olly ended the night with his U.S. single “Heartbreaker” which has had frequent airtime on XM Radio and Radio Disney.

Hopefully in the future Olly will be able to come back and play for larger crowds and on a grander stage to show off his natural talent and fun-loving personality.