Straight from London, Ben Howard brought his soulful indie rock sounds to Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on Saturday night in tremendous fashion.
Opening for him was Australia’s very own Andrew Kidman and the Windy Hills. They set the mood from the get-go and caused many goosebumps amongst the crowd throughout their entire set.
There was a lot of anticipation going into the concert. In March this year, Ben rescheduled his appearance at this years Bluefest festival as well as his arena shows around the country. The reason - he needed more time to perfect the show. Completely understandable, and his show truly showed that all good things come in time.
Opening with the heatbreaking ‘Conrad’ from his most recent studio album I Forget Where We Were, Ben set the precedent of what fans were expect from the moment he stepped onto stage. Having never seen him live - I didn’t know what to expect. His opener provided me with what he’s all about, and most importantly why people hail him as one of the greats. His eloquent voice has the power to silence an entire arena, grabbing everyones full attention.
Now it’s important to note that if you’re going to see Ben Howard live, this isn’t the sort of concert where you sing-along in your tone deaf voices, or talk throughout. Failure to use your listening powers won’t allow you to fully experience his musical magic without distractions.
‘Rivers In Your Mouth’ provided a short opportunity to have a slight boogie and to unleash the swaying dance moves. He then launched into ‘In Dreams’, also from his most recent LP. The definite highlight of this track was the brisk and quick plucking of his guitar strings - he had an entire arena feeling envious of his progress to play so perfectly.
Though most of his set derived from his recent LP, he did squeeze in to play many tracks from his previous releases. This included ‘Black Flies’, ‘Keep Your Head Up’ and ‘The Wolves’ from Every Kingdom, as well as covers such as ‘Wildest Moments’ by Jessie Ware and ‘Every Time The Sun Comes Up’ by Rufus Wainright and Sharon Von Etten. His big finish was with ‘Esmerelda’ from his The Burgh Island EP from 2012. The chillingly beautiful track caused shivers each second he played. Even though it is one of his lesser know tracks, it’s one of his finest. His ending left everybody desperate for more.
Ben Howard reaffirmed why he is one of the best folk acts around right know. The entire night saw fans in awe or his raw and pure talent. If you didn’t leave the night convinced of his talent, then I advise you to see him again - his performances are nothing short than magical.
Written by Sally Swan
BEN HOWARD | HORDERN PAVILION| 30.5.15
(Photographer - Teresa Pham)