Gig Review: Ben Howard & Michael Kiwanuka
Ben Howard & Michael Kiwanuka, The Corner, Wed 25th July, by Robyn Fawcett
The Communion show had been honest in its’ offering - two very special artists -one pre-Splendour In The Grass show. Sold Out.
Two things initially surprise us, firstly how young the crowd is, secondly how young Ben Howard is. At 25, he walks on stage like a kid and then opens his heart & voice to impress us like a man.
Starting his set chilled, we meet the young small threesome, a young girl and guy support on bass & vocals. Ben's crowd respond immediately. He manifests an energy that compels the crowd to yell & cheer just cause the kid changes key. An encore applause after every song.
If the definition of adoring is particpation, the crowd then joined Ben in an impromptu call & response bridge of the word love. And love him we did. The fresh thoughts of a young man with the maturity and sensitivity of an old soul. Even though the set is short, he gives us a good sampling of debut record, Every Kingdom through Black Flies, The Fear and Only Love, often building more connecting moments of light between the songs and certainly beyond what a CD can capture.
A tough act to follow, the crowd were warmed up and ready to settle in for Michael Kiwanuka. The tight four piece live act took a lounge approach to an already chilled repertoire of tracks from debut album, Home Again. The sound was record perfect and crisp through I’ll Get Along, Tell Me a Tale, Believe and crowd pleaser Home Again. Michael chooses to cover Jimi Hendrix’s Waterfall . The young audience knows they are supposed to be impressed but don't connect in the way that Michael and his band obviously look up to the rock legend. Perhaps an indication that the Australian audiences for these two acts are of slightly different heritage. However, Michael’s lead guitarist arguably has the best afro in mainstream music in 2012.
Two distinct acts with a bright future in the hearts of Australians. Make sure you keep an ear on these acts at Splendour in The Grass 2012. Enjoy.