Newton Faulkner at the Roundhouse
Acoustic shows, often subdued and droll affairs, rarely have the capacity to captivate a two-thousand-strong audience into utter silence or bring the house down with a riotous finale. Newton Faulkner defied these preconceptions treating us to just that at Camden’s Roundhouse.
This is not the only time Faulkner has defied preconception, in 2007 his debut album Hand Built by Robots became double platinum, surging to the top of the UK charts and pushing Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black from the number one spot. He has gone on to create four albums in total with Rebuilt by Humans and Write It on Your Skin entering straight into the UK top ten, while his latest effort Studio Zoo made history as the first album to be recorded and streamed live 24/7 for five weeks.
A skilled guitarist, Faulkner nimbly picks and plucks dexterously using the guitar’s wooden body as a percussive tool. Won’t Let Go sees the dreadlocked crooner rhythmically tap the guitar’s fret board playing metrical harmonics which build into a flurry of hammered tones. Mid song he bellows into the sound hole, the guitar acting as a wooden amplifier magically echoing and reverberating his voice. A cello and two backing singers including Faulkner’s brother join the stage for I Took It Out on You. Their voices merge into a sweet four-part harmony filling the space with honeyed cadences. Faulkner’s famous cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrops garners much appreciation from the loyal audience and a sprightly rendition of Justin Timberlake’s Like I Love You is a glorious yet light hearted interlude.
Faulkner isn’t afraid to involve the crowd, imploring them to sing along to jaunty tune Plastic Hearts, leaving a sea of heads bobbing in time to Faulkner’s agile rhythms. Yet the real excitement is still to come: “Just because this is a classy acoustic gig,” says Faulkner, “I don’t see why there can’t be any jumping” paving the way for a full blown riot amid the standing audience as they bounce excitedly along to Dream Catch Me.
Faulkner’s performance really was a testament to his musical skill. Not only is his voice an entity to be reckoned with, switching easily from soft tones to guttural cries, he is also the sole producer of nearly every sound on stage as noises which appear to have no source emanate from Faulkner’s stripy socked feet which flit over a series of sound pedals below. Any acoustic act able to generate the enormous amounts of energy seen at the Roundhouse deserves admiration and Faulkner achieved this in droves.
Photos: Helen Parish
For further information and further events visit Newton Faulkner’s website here.
Watch the video for Indecisive here: