Gig Review by Fran Prince with Photography by Bianca Barrett

Ben Howard

By the time I’d grabbed a pint and squeezed into the venue of Wolves Civic, the lush Mr Ben Howard had entered a black out stage and I’d been immediately deafened by woops and screams… and when I say squeezed, I mean breathing down the neck of the person in front of me at this completely sold out gig.

Ben Howard

With eerie blue lighting and the echoic and soft tones of this English singer songwriter’s vocals, I was instantly hung up on his voice, I suppose that’s a good thing, as he took a seat with his acoustic guitar at the front of stage, meaning I could barely see his floppy surferish hair, and only the silhouettes of the band behind him, so voice was all I had to go by.

Ben Howard

The last time I saw this iconic and chilled indie folkist was at a alternate stage at V fest, it was the perfect setting, beer, friends, and the sun setting as Ben sung in the background. Be it a smallish venue this time around, I was stood throughout the set on tip toes, desperate to even catch a glimpse of the one and only Ben Howard. I’ve a feeling this’ll be the last time the UK will see him in such small locations, and the crowd will increase by the day.

Ben Howard

There’s something solemn and almost melancholy about his new album, ‘I Forget Where We Were’ the third song of the night, got the audience hyped but almost silence fell on each song as the audience intensely listened to the ambiance and emotion of his voice.

Ben Howard

His unique guitar playing was just perfection, and with his right hand lady on cello, guitar, drums and all sorts, the rest of the band also did him every justice, with the spine tingling echoes of his background vocalists, the sound mix was brilliant.

The audience were by far the most relaxed I’ve seen in my time at gigs, I put this down to their complete adoration and feeling in the music, for me I feel almost moved by his vocals, although the eerie edge to the new album, his voice just fills me with happiness and I feel involved in the music in a way.

Ben Howard

One of my favourite’s from the album is ‘Conrad’, it may even be with the simple guitar at the beginning that takes me back to his first albums laid-back sounds. A little more of a rocky track was ‘Small Things’ which got everyone clapping along, Howard claims this was his favourite to play, and I can see why as the simple yet powerful guitar flooded the audience as we all jolted with the beat. I particularly like the instrumental section at the end of ‘She treats me well’ there was definitely some distinctive tambourine thrown in there.

Ben Howard

The set list was mostly compiled of his new album except from a few, the popular and more upbeat ‘The Fear’, which guaranteed everyone sung along too, and the gentle ‘Black Flies’, but if you asked me if fans were disappointed that he didn’t play The Wolves, Keep Your Head Up or Only Love, from the previous album ‘Every Kingdom’ then I’d say no, those fans were dedicated to his down-to-earth vocal awesomeness.

2 Responses to “Ben Howard at The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, UK – 4th December 2014”

  1. The Kirkinator Says:

    Great review and photography. It was an awesome, mesmerising, moving performance

  2. Elle Says:

    I have to disagree with you on that last point, I was certainly disappointed he did not play The Wolves or Keep You Head Up, these are my favourite Ben Howard songs so it was disappointing to not see them live.
    Other than that, I really enjoyed his whole set, he was definitely mesmerising, I’d love to see him in a smaller, more intimate setting to truly appreciate his live performances.

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