Opening the show for Newton Faulkner, in a jam-packed Robin 2 in Bilston, was Cornwall-based singer-songwriter Sam Richardson. He took to the stage with just an
acoustic guitar, akin to the evening’s headliner. Whilst his recorded material is full-band based, his live performance was stripped back and acoustic whilst retaining it’s upbeat and lively nature. Intersected with stories of his family, life in Cornwall and his hatred of Ginster’s pasties, Sam proved very approachable and warm gaining the Bilston crowd on his side from the off.
Currently touring across the UK as part of his ‘Feels Like Home’ tour, Newton Faulkner is seemingly playing all sorts of odd towns and odder venues across the country that perhaps don’t usually get big touring artists, and on Tuesday evening it was the turn of Bilston. It was great to see the venue so full and everybody was clearly excited to see such a fantastic live act. And fantastic is absolutely what Newton proved to be.
This tour acted as a back to basics tour that has seen him ditch any extra instrumentation, loop pedals, effects etc and just perform with his guitar, a bass drum and a makeshift hi-hat strung together from a rusty bin lid. But what the evening proved is that even just with his songs and his warm personality Newton is still one of the best live acts in the business.
Pulling out tracks from his long and sonically varied career, early songs such as ‘Dream Catch Me’ and ‘Gone In The Morning’ were just as warmly received as newer tracks such as ‘Hit The Ground Running’ and ‘Finger Tips’. There were requests, three-part crowd harmonies as well as an impromptu karate chop from an audience member.
In some ways the evening was almost like a campfire sing along, with little to no distinction between the Newton Faulkner on stage and the crowd in front of him. And it’s this ability to back up the songs with warmth and humility that really distinguishes Newton from the rest.
It’s clear that he’ll always be welcome in the West Midlands, whether at this venue or any other.
Review: Dan Earl
Photograph from the Symphony Hall, Birmingham 2017 : Stephanie Colledge