Ben Howard at Hard Rock Cafe
Just an hour of beautiful songs
Itchy went to the Absolute Radio session at Hard Rock Cafe anticipating an evening of acoustic beauty - and that's what we got, plus more. We didn't fancy Ben Howard before, but as soon as he belted out that first song... phwoar. We're not ashamed to say that we lusted.
We also didn't expect him to be joined by the rest of his band; singer and cellist India and multitasking drummer/bassist Chris, but we're glad he was. The trio clearly enjoy playing together (At one point we felt a bit jealous about the obvious connection between India and Ben... those loving looks raised a few eyebrows!) and make a gorgeous layered sound, reminiscent of Damien Rice at his best.
The audience was a real mix - ranging from hipsters in beanie hats posing in corners to a group of footy "lads" at the front who guzzled beer and chanted throughout - and everyone was enraptured by the performance.
The set was made up of songs from the Devon born artist's debut album, Every Kingdom. Radio hits The Fear and Keep Your Head Up were well received, but Itchy's favourite was the incredible Black Flies, atmospheric and haunting. Any song with the lyrics "Maybe you were the ocean and I was just a stone" is a hit in our books.
Our only complaint was that the set only went on for an hour... we could have listened to their sweet, sweet sound forever (Okay, well at least until the last train home). As we left, we heard the ever-faithful lads at the front rousing the remaining crowd to sing the opening melody of The Wolves as a football-style chant, as if to summon Ben back, and the crowd willingly obliged. Beautiful.
Catch Ben on tour in February:
Hall for Cornwall - Truro 13/02/12
Pyramids - Portsmouth 14/02/12
Corcorde 2 - Brighton 15/02/12
HMV Ritz - Manchester 17/02/12
The Queen's Hall - Edinburgh 18/02/12
Oran Mor - Glasgow 19/02/12
Northumbria Uni - Newcastle Upon Tyne 20/02/12
Waterfront - Norwich 22/02/12
O2 Shepherds Bush Empire - London 23/02/12
O2 Shepherds Bush Empire - London 24/02/12
O2 Academy - Oxford 25/02/12
Cockpit - Leeds 27/02/12
HMV Institute - Birmingham 28/02/12
O2 Academy - Bristol 29/02/12
The Academy - Dublin 02/03/12