Ben Howard & Willy Mason – Music Hall, Aberdeen – 17/11/12
I remember driving in the West coast with my better half last summer and Zane Lowe introduced a new artist as part of his next hype segment who went by the name of Ben Howard. He was playing debut single Keep Your Head Up for the very first time and for the entire duration, my girlfriend and I sat in silence, mesmerised by what we were hearing.
Fast forward 12 months and to say that Ben Howard has had a whirlwind year is a massive understatement. The support of Radio 1, an appearance on Jools Holland, two sold out tours and countless festival appearances, Ben and his band have visited every corner of the globe in support of debut Mercury prize nominated album, ‘Every Kingdom’. And with this meteoric year coming to an end, I went along to the Music Hall in Aberdeen to see him for the very first time.
Opening the night was American singer-songwriter Willy Mason, who you may remember best from his debut single ‘Oxygen’ and subsequent album ‘Where the Humans Eat’, in 2005. Back with a brand new album and sleek new look of suits and slicked back hair, Mason’s own brand of folk-blues help the night get off to a gentle start, with the aforementioned ‘Oxygen’ and brand new single ‘I Got Gold’ the stand outs of his set.
Taking to the stage to a wall of rapturous noise, it is pretty clear from the offset that Ben Howard’s set is going to be a bit special. From the outstandingly beautiful, ‘Depth Over Distance’, to the crowd pleasing ‘Old Pine’ and ‘Keep Your Head Up’, Ben looks quite at home in the Music Hall, his earthy voice mystically filling the entire room. New songs ‘Oats in the Water’ and ‘Burgh Island’ show a new, darker side of his personality and his music, yet still showcases that unique sound that we have become accustomed to throughout 2012.
With a rousing version of ‘The Fear’ and the haunting ‘Promise’ bringing the set to a close, Ben and his band bow twice and leave the stage to a delirious Aberdeen audience, who were most definitely left wanting more – for all the right reasons.
2012 has been some year for Ben Howard and his band. With generic pop filling the airwaves, it’s been really refreshing to hear something different make the cut through the mainstream dirge. And if new EP ‘The Burgh Island’ is anything to go by, it’s a scary thought to think that 2012 is only the beginning for the man from Cornwall.
See you next year, Ben.
Words by Justboy57
Ben Howard Website
Willy Mason Website