Ben Howard | The Olympia Theatre
Support Act : Hiss Golden Messenger
Hiss golden messenger, an indie folk band from North Carolina took the stage at around 8pm. They were energetic and pleasant. Maybe I was too caught up in anticipation for Ben Howard that I just didn’t enjoy them too much. They were fun and they had talent but felt a little bit whiney and almost like the same song could have been played over and over and I wouldn’t have noticed. The band put on a good show, they did well at working the crowd. The drummer quickly became the crowds favourite He looked genuinely happy to be there, he smiled and beamed through the entire performance resulting in massive eruptions of cheers from the crowd.
Enough about the support though, let’s get down to the real reason we’re here. The one, the only, Ben Howard.
Ben, with band in tow took the stage roughly about 9:10pm, opening with the epic “Conrad” followed up by the more up tempo “Rivers in your mouth” and into the latest single “I forget where we were”. Each song was epic, cinematic and all round mind blowing. It was hard to look away at any point, the music wrapped around the souls of those who watched, it was mesmerizing, heart stopping incredibility. For good measure there were a few older tunes thrown into the mix, such as “Black flies”, “The fear” and “Oats in the water”. If you were there for crowd pleasers such as “Old Pine”, “Only Love” and “Keep your head up” then you probably left disappointed. That’s the thing about Ben Howard, he doesn’t overplay his songs to death. He seemed pleased with the crowds reaction to all the new songs from his latest record “I forget where we were”, the majority of the crowd knew the album word for word, which added to the overall experience. The band lit up as the crowd sang along in synchronization to every song, new and old. There was never a point where anyone looked like they weren’t exactly where they wanted to be, the energy and the atmosphere was phenomenal.
Ben interacted and had fun with the crowd, anyone can see he gives what he gets, a great crowd receives the best of him. The band paid tribute to Ireland by enjoying a pint of Guinness on stage, forcing the crowd to erupt and bubble with pride, as the Irish do.
The entire band poured every ounce of themselves into the performance, the passion and excitement just oozed from each member. They added a little extra to each song, to lose themselves in the music and play their instruments with all their hearts and souls, no vocals, just raw music. It really added to the show and left a lot of people with their jaws on the floor, lost in the sound. It couldn’t be flawed in any way shape or form. If you missed it, then sorry to say it but you really did miss out on an amazing experience.
If you’re going to see any act then see Ben Howard, simple as. The show was closed with a truly beautiful performance of “Gracious” from the album “Every Kingdom”. The whole night was so laid back and chilled yet completely energetic and awe filled. I could keep going and going about how awesome it was but you really need to experience a Ben Howard performance for yourself to really understand the utter, unbelievable awe of it all.