Live Review: Ben Howard at Lincoln Engine Shed – 20th November 2012

By on Thursday, 29th November 2012 at 2:00 pm

Words and photos by guest reviewer Joe Coleman

Having listened to Ben Howard for numerous years now, I finally got the chance to see him live on Tuesday evening at the Engine Shed in Lincoln and It wasn’t what I was expecting. The venue itself isn’t a huge arena, accommodating to only about 1,500 people, but on the night you couldn’t move for love nor money.

But while the arena was a commotion, the audience were not. There was an odd feeling of almost lulled excitement; people just didn’t seem as excited as they should have been about arguably one of the biggest performers this year. As Ben took to the stage, the crowd finally erupted into life, empty beer cups were thrown and elbows were dug in. But Ben then started with two new tracks, both as dark and mellow as many of the tracks on the album, but almost with a little more zip. If it was supposed to build anticipation, it certainly achieved it. People were clapping and singing along to every word, albeit a second after they had heard it.

With the new tracks done, Ben cracked on with what everyone wanted to hear. With Ben’s debut album ‘Every Kingdom’ now having sold over 160,000 copies, people were anticipating everything off the album to be as clear cut and as on the nose as the album versions. But what followed were a cacophony of extended versions and re-jigged performances of everyone’s favourites, but boy did he nail it.

‘Diamonds’ turned into a crescendo of bass, electric guitar and drums with Ben standing proudly at the front of his fellow band-mates, but it still retained the essence of the original that everyone loved. ‘Only Love’ followed and again, everyone was in harmony singing and Ben even remarked after that the crowd were the best he had heard at clapping along. In between songs, Ben was conversational with the crowd, something I hadn’t expected having heard he was a bit of an introvert, especially to the press. But his anecdotes about playing in Lincoln’s under construction club last year were genuinely funny and had people laughing along.

As the stories slowed up, as did the songs; ‘Oats in the Water’ was followed by two new songs from his latest EP ‘Burgh Island’, due out on the 10th of December on Island. Both followed the same trend as the previous new tracks; melodic, foot tapping, and shoulder swaying folk songs. But then Ben upped the tempo again, coming back with ’Everything’ followed by ’Black Flies’ and ’Old Pine’. And then the summer classic ‘The Wolves’ had everyone oohing along and drowning out Ben.

At times, Ben just stood for a few moments before a song and just interacted with the crowd, telling jokes and thanking everyone for their support this year. As everyone stood back and listened, you could tell Ben was enjoying the night, a cute smile kept appearing across his face á la the ‘Call Me Maybe’ video. The two songs that topped off what was an incredible night for Lincoln, were the two easiest songs to sing along to, ’Promise’ and ’Keep Your Head Up’. As the crowd fell silent, Ben sat down on a chair for the first time of the night and let his unorthodox way of playing the guitar do the talking.

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hadn’t at least heard of Ben Howard, but many people wouldn’t recognise him if they saw him walking down the street. His exponential rise to fame this year and his sold out tour will only see him gain more and more popularity, and all credit to him.

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2 Responses

2:01 pm
29th November 2012

RT @tgtf: New post: Live Review: Ben Howard at Lincoln Engine Shed – 20th November 2012:

2:14 pm
29th November 2012

RT @tgtf: New post: Live Review: Ben Howard at Lincoln Engine Shed – 20th November 2012:

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