My favorite kind of gig is one that surpasses your expectations of the artist, surprises you with sounds and sensations that just don’t translate to recorded music. This is exactly what Ben Howard delivers. Watching him play in the Queens Hall, Narberth last night, I was impressed and captivated.
One thing I have to say about this guy was how down to earth he is. With the recent radio play and growing popularity pushing him to be one of the UK’s breakout artists, you would never have guessed it. On and off stage, he just seemed to be in his element, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone smile so much on stage. It seemed he was enjoying the gig more than his audience in this sell out gig.
However, it was the music that impressed me most. On CD you get the sense of the raw edge to his music, but it’s a mere taste of what you get live. His energy filled the room, at points the crowd couldn’t help but sing along. His voice is incredible, hitting notes with skill. At a lot of gigs you sometimes get a sense of a wall separating the audience from the artist, this wasn’t the case last night, there was a real feeling of intimacy between the crowd and the band on stage.
Some have compared him to the Sons of Mumford or Jack Johnson but I don’t think that gives him justice. Yes he sings, plays an acoustic guitar and surfs but I think thats about as far as you can go with the comparison, if anything I’d say there were moments of Bob Dylan in the set. Ultimately, it’s his own sound. I don’t want to pigeon hole the music by saying he fits into a certain genre. It is what it is – brilliant.
The event was put on by SAS (Surfers Against Sewage) whom Howard has had a long affiliation with. Predictably there was a large surfing contingent at the gig which brought this sense of solidarity. Surfers watching one of their own, supporting a charity looking out for their interests and the environment.
CLICK HERE FOR OFFICIAL TICKETS FOR BEN HOWARD