Friday, 14 February 2014

Live Review: Newton Faulkner supported by Sam Brookes

Hello there, and welcome to my second gig review of the week! I have quite the jam packed schedule at the moment in terms of live music, with Bastille and Bombay Bicycle Club still to come next month! Excited. 

I actually saw Newton Faulkner back in October 2012, also at the 02 Academy in Newcastle; my cousin Mathew is a huge fan, so when the tour for his new album 'Studio Zoo' were released, I was expecting a text saying that we had tickets! I'm not strictly a massive fan of Newton's...I have all the albums and do listen to them now and then, but would never have gone to see him live if Mathew hadn't wanted to. However, saying that, he is definitely one of the best acts I've ever seen live, and thanks to 02 Priority, we got to be in the front row for the second time!

If you're familiar with Newton's music, you will know that he pushes the boundaries of what is possible when playing the guitar, and uses his incredible technical ability to create sounds and melodies that you can barely believe are coming from just one man! He uses the guitar as both a percussion and string instrument, providing booming rhythm and basslines from thudding the guitar in various places, and even changes the tuning of strings during some songs! The mind boggles. I think I prefer seeing him live because that's the only way you can witness the full impact of the genius of his guitar playing and effortless vocals, as well as his endearing and witty personality (I love the fact he makes cups of tea between songs!).

Also, in a rare occasion, Newton had some people accompanying him on stage! There was Beth Porter on the cello, support act Sam Brookes on guitar, bass and backing vocals (more on him later), and brother Toby Faulkner on vocals too. They didn't join in with every song, but having a group feel to certain numbers really lifted the whole show and, in my opinion, improved it from last year. 

There was a mix of tracks from each of Newton's 4 albums, with most being from his newest one, 'Studio Zoo', but also the big numbers he's probably most well known for such as 'Dream Catch Me', 'Teardrop', 'Clouds' and 'Write It On Your Skin', which was my personal highlight of the night! He always drops some unexpected covers in there too, and, not to spoil it for anyone seeing him soon, his rendition of a certain Justin Timberlake tune is both brilliant and hilarious. 

As previously mentioned, the support act was Sam Brookes, who definitely deserves a mention. When he walked on stage and started with a beautiful love song (the name of which I'm not sure of!), you could hear a pin drop as everyone in the venue was enchanted by his dreamy vocals and Newton-esque guitar playing. We even met him after the show to buy his album 'Kairos' and get our tickets signed! Support acts are really bringing it lately!

Sam Brookes
A brilliant performance all round, and someone I would definitely recommend seeing live!

Are you a fan of Newton Faulkner or Sam Brookes?

Thanks for reading!


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