Benedict Benjamin at the Islington
Benedict Benjamin, fronted by Ben Rubinstein (formerly of indie-folk groups the Mariner’s Children and Peggy Sue) performed a fantastic set at Islington’s local pub and live music venue, the Islington last night. Having dropped his debut album Night Songs just last Friday, this was a memorable way to kick-start the talent’s new direction.
Welcomed onto the warmly lit stage by a roomful of eager eyes, he started the night with the tranquil opening track of the album, Move on Those Tired Feet. Greeting the audience with a cheeky smile, he thanked everyone for coming to Benedict Benjamin’s first sold-out show. Following with dreamy, surf-vibe track I Wish Your Lies Were Better, his four-piece band joined in, filling the room with swaying bodies and attentive ears. With Rubinstein’s bowl cut and the band’s black suit coordination, the stage looked just like a scene from a 60s film.
Critically acclaimed single Thin Skin stole everybody’s heart, a change from Rubinstein’s more sombre tunes with solid bass lines and a drum crescendo. “We’re going to be playing the whole album, from start to finish, if that’s alright.” With no smart phones or cameras around, the intimacy was irresistible. It was impossible not to fall in love, as Rubinstein gazed into the audience with romantic tracks I Would Like to See You Tonight and Better Man.
Just when you thought the band couldn’t get any more impressive, Benedict Benjamin came out with bluesy rock tune My Feet Have No Need for the Ground, enveloping the venue with feel-good vibes. The passion of every member on stage emphasised the beautifully poetic words sung in angelic harmony by Rubinstein and his smartly dressed keyboard player – honest and touching stories of heartbreak, obstacles and finding happiness that pulled on the audience’s tender heartstrings. The eerie but sincere rendition of Had What You Had was well received, as the band performed a powerful instrumental break, injecting the room with a rush of energy and intensity.
After finishing off the set with The Hardest Thing, as reluctant to leave as the audience were, they performed a final song for their avid fans, calling it “an antidote to our depressing record”. Treating the Islington to his favourite tune, the Everly Brothers’ Cathy’s Clown, Rubinstein’s distinctive voice and the band’s perfectly 70s sound turned the room into a romantic utopia. Between banter, awkwardness and lovable appeal, Benedict Benjamin put on a stunning debut show and turned everybody’s Wednesday evening into a daydream.
For further information about Benedict Benjamin and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Thin Skin here: