Review and Photography by Gunnar Mallon

Richard Hawley performing at Sheffield City Hall on December 5, 2016

There couldn’t be a more befitting end to an 18-month long tour for Richard Hawley and his band than to play Sheffield’s City Hall. Sheffield’s much beloved son enthralled a sell-out crowd of dedicated fans, with a mixture of new songs dedicated to his children and well-known hits. Selling his own brand of Hendo’s (a local delicacy), it was clear that Richard Hawley was at home.

Henri Herbert performing at Sheffield City Hall

Bassist of Henri Herbert Band performing at Sheffield City Hall

Hawley was supported by the fantastic and highly energetic rockabilly pianist Henri Herbert and his band. Laying down a strong foundation of boogie and rockabilly sounds, Henri Herbert soon got the show started as the City Hall continued to fill up. It was a little strange to sit down for the fast-paced rockabilly show instead of  jumping up and down and dancing, but given that the average age of the crowd was firmly in the 50s, it was probably for the best. It allowed many people to vigorously tap those feet and rock those heads along to the Henri Herbert trio’s piano hammering rock and roll.

Richard Hawley playing a guitar solo at Sheffield City Hall on December 5, 2016

As the lights dimmed to announce Richard Hawley and his band to the stage, the crowd erupted with shouts, whistles and cheers all around. Many of the audience members had seen Hawley play many times before, whether it was in big venues such as the City Hall or jamming along in small Sheffield pubs. Without much ado, Hawley launched straight into Which Way to the approval of the crowd. From the first note, we knew that we were about to witness something overwhelmingly special, by the highly accomplished musicians on stage.

Sheffield's own Richard Hawley at Sheffield City Hall on December 5, 2016

With a voice that reminded me of Buddy Holly’s but with a thick Sheffield accent, Hawley had a quick swipe at Brexit before performing ‘Tonight The Streets Are Ours’ and ‘Standing At the Sky’s Edge’. Hawley is well known for his extensive guitar collection and he was happy to show off most of his darlings that evening. With more guitar changes than songs, yes with mid-song changes, his guitar technician was kept very busy spending more time on stage than Charlie Beresford, who joined Hawley on violin for ‘I Still Want You’, from his new album ‘Hollow Meadows’.

Richard Hawley singing at Sheffield City Hall on December 5, 2016Richard Hawley on stage at Sheffield City Hall on December 5, 2016

Next up was the flanger- and reverb-abusing ‘Leave Your Body Behind You’, that showed off Hawley’s often under-rated yet superb guitar skills as he rocked City Hall. Hawley is a great entertainer and always loves interacting with the audience and providing stage banter. Introducing ‘Sometimes I Feel’, he told of the only birthday card he ever kept, which was from his father for his 30th birthday and read “30? I didn’t think you’d make it past f***ing Thursday”.

Richard Hawley singing at Sheffield City Hall on December 5, 2016

Keeping the tempo slow, to let everyone catch they breath and just sink into their chairs in awe, Hawley played ‘Open Up Your Door’ and ‘Tuesday PM’. Making sure to acknowledge the other musicians on stage, he pointed out that the name on the bill was misleading and that they are in fact a band, jokingly following this it up with his band not being able to make it that evening. Richard Hawley’s band consists of Colin Elliot on bass, Dean Beresford on drums, Shez Sheridan on guitar, and John Trier on keyboard.

The concert saw a well balanced mix of slow ballads that make you forget about time and heavier alternative rock tunes, such as ‘Time Will Bring You Winter’ and my favourite song of the evening, ‘Down In The Woods’ from Hawley’s ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’ album. Throughout the evening, Hawley dedicated songs to his oldest daughter and his youngest son, who is following in his musical footsteps, with songs such as the heartfelt ‘Don’t Stare At The Sun’.

Richard Hawley performing at Sheffield City Hall on December 5, 2016

The set drew to a close with ‘Heart of Oak’ and ‘There’s A Storm Comin’’ to standing ovations from the 2,000-strong audience accompanied by thunderous applause. After having had a breather, and knowing Hawley, a cheeky pint, the five musicians retook to the stage for ‘Coles Corner’, ‘What Love Means’ and Hawley’s undoubtedly biggest hit and crowd favourite ‘The Ocean’. The show finished with a heartfelt and sincere thank you to his band and to the Sheffield crowd, that would make even the most hardened Londoner proud to be in Sheffield.

In conclusion, Richard Hawley’s concert was phenomenal and a gig that I will remember for a very long time. If you get the chance to catch them on their next tour when, according to Hawley, “he’s got his s**t together”, do it and you will have a brilliant time. Thank you very much Mr H. for a fantastic concert and see you at Fagan’s.

Bassist Colin Elliot performing with Richard Hawley at Sheffield City Hall on December 5, 2016

3 Responses to “Richard Hawley + Henri Herbert at Sheffield City Hall, UK – 5th December 2016”

  1. maire T Skinner Says:

    It sounds like it was a good night. I saw Richard in York Twice this year Fibbers and York Barbican . I wonted to come to Sheffield .Our son was expecting there first baby so sorry Richard as they say family comes first as much I love you . Mr Hawley is a brilliant musician and hope to see Mr Hawley again at his next tour . A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Mr Hawleys Family and fans X X Maire from (York ) X X

  2. Cheryl Says:

    My husband and I were there . It was like a magical interlude in my life ,honestly ,just incredible. My husband said it was by far the best gig he had ever been to . Thank you for one unforgettable night boys .

  3. Caroline Bayley Says:

    I have at least 2 spare tickets for Manchester gig Friday Dec 16th. Hoping to go myself! £25 for the 2.

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