Gig review: Dan Croll at The Wardrobe, Leeds

Dan Croll. Picture: Dan Wilton
Dan Croll. Picture: Dan Wilton
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From nowhere, Dan Croll appeared in the darkness of The Wardrobe’s basement stage, sharing a headline set with the Eurovision Song Contest.

Launching himself right into Away From Today without a single warning beyond a flash of light, one of the catchiest tracks from his next record hit all the right notes. British singer-songwriter Croll is readying himself for the release of that ‘difficult second album’ Emerging Adulthood, and tonight proved himself to be that stunning butterfly evolving in sound.

It’s a wholesome and clean-cut set, full of Croll’s trademark full-hearted vocal. His new music brims with tropical beats and African vibes, no doubt influenced by time spent with Ladysmith Black Mambazo in 2014, brought to life by an energetic display at the front.

Not sold out, but absolutely looking it, The Wardrobe swayed and danced its way through his best-known hits Compliment Your Soul, Thinkin Aboutchu and From Nowhere. The set was peppered with his newer tracks Swim and One of Us from his new record out in July, Croll aware of the stiff competition that is Eurovision this very same night.

His new music is a departure from the skittish, fanciful indie-pop of his 2014 debut album, Sweet Disarray. Melodies and clever hooks remain bountiful, yet angular layers of surf-pop have wormed their way in. But this crowd was nostalgic. Bellowed requests echo for his early demo Marion, the very same that caught the ears of Communion Records and kicked off this very journey back in 2012.

Defiant, Croll closed his lengthy Leeds return set with a brilliant surprise encore in the shape of a gently-picked Home – an unexpected inclusion from his short but eclectic discography that was given an out-of-character rocking outro and sent the audience into a frenzy. Unpredictable, he is still creating heady music to fall in love to, but he’s not be second-guessed.

One of the nicest guys in pop releases his second album, Emerging Adulthood, on July 21 via Communion Records.