Newton Faulkner + Victoria @ The Assembly, Leamington Spa, 18th November 2015

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In less that two minutes I’m wondering why I’ve never seen Newton Faulkner before, as I’m in a room full of people having a massive love-in with the guy on the stage.

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He looks a little different, the dreads now being replaced by a top knot (see the Get Free new single video for the explanation behind that) as he said when introducing Get Free the scissors were on him……  The new look gives more definition to his face although it is the winning smile and infectious personality I like. He gives me the impression he is talking to a room of friends as he chats to the packed venue. He is about to launch his fifth album this week Human Love, which will be a move forward in sound and direction and the shedding of the dreadlocks hint at this.

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Newton has a crowd that spans all ages, I see kids, teens, loved up couples, mums and daughters and people just having a relaxed night out. The setlist is mixed, old and new and is well thought out.  He knows his audience and the set is paced with the crowd involving Brick by Brick, audience accompaniment on Dream Catch Me which is moving to be part of and has space for new songs Get Free and the title track Human Love. The crowd are respectful and take it all on board, with little chatting and full attention paid.

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As a performer he exceeds my expectations; songs I’ve heard recorded are delivered far better live. That same level of attention is given to the support who are Victoria, a five piece from London.  The Assembly is busy when they come on, most of the audience are in early and watch them.

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A bouncy, lively band, good looking, hard working and the crowd liked them.  The stand out track from this short set is  Masquerade, I’ll be looking to see them play again.

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Back to Newton  – a man who divides his audience into vocal groups successfully, demonstrates his new toy like a big brother — some gadget that makes lots of new sounds from his guitar (someone please explain this to me), a bit like Teardrops but more so apparently.  He radiates charm all evening then finally has everyone jumping in the encore and meeting him on the merch stand.

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This was simply a lovely chilled out experience — he is back to the midlands in April on a full tour and playing in Birmingham (16th April).  I’ll see you down the front.

 

Review and photographs: Stephanie Colledge

 

 

 

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