Taking the Hammerstein Ballroom stage in New York City Ben Howard defined what it means to be in a Groove. With a beautifully prepared set list, one song would transition almost seamlessly into the next, no breaks just each song bridging the gap to another. Because of the arrangements the show began to seem more like a story. Howard when he is on stage brings you a certain amount of calm and excitement at the same time. While you are in a room of thousands of people you forget that with each song.
There is an artistic element that streams throughout the show. With video and lights projected onto a stone backdrop. Most songs being accompanied with a designated video or lighting effect. These effects contribute into the story feeling that Howard presents almost transferring you to the world he creates with video. It becomes hard not to appreciate the creativity of the set, with a pixelating video back drop combined by the music played. It becomes an audio and visual medium that compliment each other nicely.
Another sign of the artistic nature of the show was in the setlist. As mentioned before it was a truly beautiful setlist. But maybe not the songs that would have been chosen by every audience member. Out of the sixteen songs Howard performed he played all ten from his newest album Noonday Dream which fits on the Noonday Dream tour. He played two more from his also new three track EP. With 12/16 songs being new songs it might not be ideal for the fans waiting for the most popular tracks. The reality though was the opposite in the crowd while certainly people noticed, no one seemed to care. There was unison in being fans of Ben Howard and a noticeable admiration.
The night seemed to be organized to give you a sense that it was exactly for you, yet uniquely for Ben Howard as well. Often leaving impressions that he had forgotten the crowd and was playing what he wanted to play alone in an empty room. However, he was not alone he had a nine member band accompanying him on stage that were a huge part in its special feel. The concert was unlike what I expected going in. I had two expectations going in. First, that Ben Howard would put on a show to remember. Second, that he has a great following of fans that would also create a unique experience.
Through his music Ben Howard fulfilled both expectations. He was amazing, the creativity blew me away. The concert moved like a finely tuned machine, one beautiful song after another. The fans created the environment to help all of this be embraced. Through his music it cultivated an atmosphere of friendship, with everyone feeling things from the lyrics and moody tones of the songs. Although the feelings that the songs moved the crowd to were different, everyone was united in the fact that they were brought to feel.