Live Review: Ben Howard / Heidi Curtis @ Boiler Shop, Newcastle (7.12.21) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Photos by Victoria Wai

With no releases yet to her name, Heidi Curtis is making her name on her live performances and tonight only helps grow that reputation. Solo with an electric guitar in hand, opener Your Love has an Americana roots feel, soaked in bourbon and blues. Bright Light is more countrified, showcasing Curtis’ strong vocal and she doesn’t let the daunting size of the Boiler Shop faze her in the slightest, such is the on-stage confidence in her undoubted ability. A haunting cover of Chris Isaac’s Wicked Game is well received before Curtis switches guitar for keys for her finale, the ballad Piece Of Our Love. 

Billed as an “Out-store” show, Ben Howard is greeted like a returning hero – as he shuffles on stage – such is the devotion that his repertoire has inspired in his audience. Concentrating solely on material from his latest record – Collections From The White-Out – he remains seated throughout with only an occasional additional guitar player and pre-recorded drum tracks for support. Opener Finders Keepers continues the spiritual folk theme that Howard is renowned for, his audience hanging on every wise word. White-Out is a particularly atmospheric record, none more so than the epic Follies Fixture which twists and turns in the wide-open spaces it meanders through. Howard lets his music do the talking and even having to stop a track due to shouts from the audience that there’s somebody in need of medical assistance doesn’t alter his laid-back demeanour. “I was nearly finished anyway,” he quips before completing the song as if nothing had happened. Rumble Strip comes across like a more ethereal Neil Young and after ¾ of an hour, Howard shuffles off stage. Whilst there’s no Keep Your Head Up upon his return, he does treat his devotees to Oats In The Water from the same Every Kingdom debut record and a version of End Of The Affair is quite simple, magical.  

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout