Surrey-based singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner arrived on the south coast to the seaside town of Bournemouth to play at the intimate Old Fire Station. The show was his eighth out of ten dates which were to celebrate the release of his fifth studio album, Human Love.
Support on this tour came from the impressive Victoria. The London five-piece attracted a sizeable crowd despite their supporting status, but once they got going it was easy to see why. They had heads bopping and feet tapping throughout their performance with their folk-infused pop sound. Frontman Joe Houlsey’s vocals were soft and endearing, whilst his band members showed great instrumental abilities and provided an infectious energy. Their catchy tracks left no doubt that Victoria will be making a significant breakthrough into the UK music scene in the very near future.
Many consider Newton Faulkner to be one of those one-hit-wonders that was never really able to eclipse his initial work. ‘Dream Catch Me’ will forever be what Faulkner is remembered for, but after witnessing him perform live I actually find that rather sad. If I’m honest, I was sceptical about what Faulkner would have to offer in a live setting, especially considering I haven’t listened to much of his material, let alone his newer stuff. Luckily though, those worries were thrown out of the window almost immediately. I didn’t recognise the vast majority of the tracks performed but, for the first time in my life, that didn’t matter. Usually if I go to a gig of an artist I’m not too familiar with, I find I can switch off quite quickly as I’m unfamiliar with what’s being played and am unable to sing along and get stuck in. With Faulkner though, this was not the case.
When he performs he makes you feel like it’s just you and him in the room, that there’s no one else there. The Old Fire Station is by no means a big venue, but it isn’t tiny either, so achieving this atmosphere was impressive. I was of course familiar with the aforementioned ‘Dream Catch Me’ and his cover of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’, but by the end of each of the other tracks which I don’t think I’d ever heard before, I felt I’d known them for years. Tracks such as ‘Up, Up and Away’, ‘Brick By Brick’ and ‘She’s Got the Time’ were so catchy that I found myself singing along by the end of them.
This was one of those live performances that stays with you. I have been to many excellent gigs in my life, but none that have left me developing an attachment to an artist I was largely unfamiliar with before the show. If I ever just want to chill out and relax in the future, I guarantee that Newton Faulkner will be what I put through my speakers.