A sea of phone screens recording videos which will never get watched necessitated the need to crack your neck to see Rag ‘N’ Bone Man on stage.
But you can forgive the crowd – they are only human, after all.
It’s clear when the intro to the East Sussex star’s smash hit warbles through the room midway through the set that this is the song many in the venue, drawn from a huge demographic, have come for.
Its appeal transcends boundaries to make the suited and tattooed tap their feet in unison.
But the shame here is there is a lot more in the 32-year-old’s arsenal and it sometimes didn’t cut through the chatter of the audience, suggesting the venue wasn’t the best choice for him to show off his gutsy, bluesy, sometimes haunting voice.
Originally scheduled for the Ritz across town, Academy One’s bigger capacity was undoubtedly more suited to the star’s rising popularity, but the cost was a loss of intimacy that this performance needed.
Skin, a shiver-inducing UK top 20, got the crowd to stop and listen, but before then he was fighting for their attention. There were lesser-known hidden gems in this set which needed a more laid-back setting, and would have enabled Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, aka Rory Graham to really shine.
Still, he is likeable and possesses enviable talent, and that did cut through.