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Support act, Daughter, in scarlet Beatles’ page-boy mop-top and carbon-capture, mascara fluttering lashes, was perhaps a little fazed by the low buzzing chattering crowd during her brief set of introspective, poetic streams of melodic-light themes of consciousnesses. However, her acerbic line something to the effect of, ‘I don’t hate your guts/I just hate you,’ certainly caused a ripple of reflective discomfort. A one to watch young artist of evolving promise who subtly cuddles then slyly ruffles complacent assumptions.

Would you dare ask the more reflective youth of Brum to forgo the use of their iPhone/Blackberrys for three hours on a rainy Thursday evening? Maybe even suggest they tolerate the absence of ‘like’ from casual-conversation? All with in the realms of a hypothetical impossibility of course. But then ask them would they be going to a hot-spot city-center venue for a near sell-out sort of ‘Folk Club Night’? Err, like…OMG, whatever, never!

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But that’s exactly what they did because somehow, Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s simple songs, to gentle refrains that sooth the heart and caress the soul within a spirit of gregarious generosity, are irresistible. Inclusive, subtly persuasive, he’s the redemptive broken-heart mending surgeon of love’s resuscitation – a troubadour dream-weaving balladeer.

And how’s this for edgy tight-rope walking/talking singer-songwriter panache? Mr. Ben thanks the crowd for their deference towards keeping hush and eschewing use of mobiles. Testing the point, he debuts new song ‘Break The Day’ utterly acoustic – sans amplification: a dropped pin would’ve been unforgivable. Photographer, Ian, didn’t even dare risk a shutter-click. And didn’t we all to a girl & boy go jelly-legged fearful at the sheer horror of our mobiles going off? To a charming back-drop of spangling stars his brief set captivated, embraced and beguiled. His self-effacing vulnerability, poetic lyricism and husky vocal delivery made this a specially enchanting evening. In fact, everyone made this evening special.

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Setlist approx (thanks, Sam, Tour Manager): 1904, Pictures, Break The Day Open, Maps, Bottle Baby, Is That You On That Plane, Butterfly Culture, Snowship, Shine, Box Of Stones, Atlas Hands, Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm

Gig Review by John Kennedy
Gig Photos by Ian Dunn

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