It’s not often you discover a great new artist. And it’s not often that said artist transcends the record they’ve made that increases the experience of seeing them live versus listening to studio music. Last night at The Neptune, Ben Howard took his cd Every Kingdom as simply a departure and created a live experience that was quite simply amazing, and at times, moving. The arrangements to the songs have changed, the quartet sometimes sounded like an orchestra, and Howard’s guitar playing seemed to stretch the boundaries of what an acoustic guitar can produce.
The cellist played drums, percussion, guitar and several other things, the drummer played several guitars and Mr. Howard, himself, played a variety of guitars seemingly tuned to whatever wondrous place he was in his head. All to great effect. My only quibble was that Mr. Howard’s bendable voice was relatively low in the mix and sometimes hard to hear. To really hear the lyrics, one needs to listen to his Mercury Prize Finalist cd.
Currently traveling in America, I do hope that he and his band return to the States soon.
Check out his music here: http://www.benhowardmusic.co.uk
A beautiful song, Further Away: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wECFbtq1h-E#!
Oh, and The Neptune turns out to be a very fine place to see live acts. See the photo above as proof of their terrific transformation from cinema to performance space.