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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ben Howard - Live review

So its no secret, I am a huge fan of Ben Howard. On Thursday 4th Sept I headed to Hackney Empire to see Ben Howard live, for what would be my fifth time.

With his highly anticipated second album "I forgot where we were" due to be released on the 20th October, a lot of fans (myself included) were eager to hear what new material Ben had in store for us. While it was unknown whether Ben would play many of his popular hits, such as 'Keep your head up" and 'The fear," I was hopeful the new singles  "I forgot where we were" and "End of the affair" would make the set list.

The evening started with support act Nick Mulvey, who singles include "Fever to Form," "April" and "Meet Me There." As someone who is relatively unknown to the wider crowds, Nick did a great job of warming up the crowd.

Next up was the man himself, Ben Howard. Having already seen Ben Howard live 4 times, I can honestly say this was the most different of all the shows. Accompanied by his usual side kick India Bourne, Ben Howard was also supported by a band. With a lot more electronic elements thrown into his songs, it somehow felt less  personal and stripped back than previous performances. Still, I can't knock him, the delivery and vocal talent Ben Howard has remains brilliant, and an absolute pleasure to watch.

The set list was made up entirely of new singles from his upcoming album, apart from the encore which included the popular hits "Everything," "Black Flies" and "The Fear" -  a risk many artists would feel is too great to take. Ben Howard however can relax, if the cheers and shouts were anything to go by at the end of each song, the fans were in favour of the new material. In addition to playing "I forgot where we were" and "End of the affair," other songs included "Conrad," "In dreams," and "The Small Things." For me, The Small Things was a definite highlight - sang with conviction, it reminded me a lot of previous songs which we have all grown to love so much.

After hearing a preview of the new material, it is clear Ben Howard has kept to what he is good at - dark, highly emotional melancholy tracks. Overall, I had a great chilled night and can say without a hint of uncertainty I am stoked for the release of the new album. I will say though, if I am being entirely honest, I have preferred previous performances more. I found the extra band accompaniment  and stage flash lights were just unnecessary distractions - a man with an unbelievable voice that evokes that much emotion is more than enough to keep the crowd captivated.

For previous post and reviews on Ben Howard, check out: Ben Howard live @ Hammersmith Apollo or Ben Howard live in NYC or Ben Howard live in Dublin

Ben has recently announced a tour in december - check out for dates and ticket info:  (please note all UK tour dates are now sold out)

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