Review: Benjamin Clementine @ Sage Two (2.11.15) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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After the release of his debut album At Least For Now, and fresh from his Mercury Award win less than two weeks ago, Benjamin Clementine came to Gateshead to deliver a breathtaking performance to the sold out Sage Two.

Without any support act, and shuffling onto stage in his trademark dinner jacket and bare feet without any form of fanfare, it wasn’t until Clementine was perched high above his piano that the hushed audience broke into applause; and from opener Gone, the almost reverential silence was rarely broken. With just a grand piano and accompanying drummer for some tracks, Clementine’s performance could be described as more stripped back than his album, yet the two musicians managed to create a cacophony of sound with songs such as Condolence and Nemesis that was truly stunning.

While many of his songs are mournful, the sense of happiness radiating from Clementine was hard to miss: with smiles breaking onto his face throughout the performance. Although largely quiet and humble, the occasions he did say anything more than a hushed ‘thanks’ had the crowd laughing.

After fan favourites Adios and London, and an encore that garnered two standing ovations, Clementine bowed to the pressure of the audience’s shouts and delighted the still packed out Sage Two with another encore. “This is a hard song” he said, ever humble, before delivering a rapturous performance of St-Clementine-On-Tea-And-Croissants that showcased the sheer range and power of his voice and led to yet another ovation that seemed like it could have continued all night.

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