Touring his 5th studio album ‘Human Love’, Newton Faulkner delivered an incredible set at the o2 Forum, Kentish Town on Sunday Night.
Opening act Sam Brookes performed a solo act of relaxing acoustic music, followed by Norwegian trio I See Rivers, who delivereda chilling yet captivating blend of three-part harmonies. It left the audience passive but with a sense of anticipation for what was to come.
Faulkner opened up slowly with some of his calmer songs, but soon picked up the tempo with a cover of Justin Bieber’s ‘Sorry’, to the somewhat ashamed delight of the audience. The difference between this tour and his previous tours, Faulkner jokes, is that this time he has more friends; joining him on stage are the two Toby’s, one of whom is Newton’s brother. “Ok”, Newton says, “Have you got used to the idea that there’s a gig happening in your face? Good, now let’s step it up a notch”.
Following this surprising cover are the songs that many in the audience are waiting for; Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’, famously covered by Faulkner, and of course, ‘Dream Catch Me’. Newton brings out a prototype guitar that he has been working on, which when hit in particular places plays electronic chords, an invention perfectly suited to his percussive style. He names this his ‘magic guitar’, to which a member of the audience calls out “You’re Gandalf!”. Faulkner laughs, and jokes, “Gandalf The Ginger!”. Ever the relaxed, witty performer.
I See Rivers rejoin for ‘Longshot’, and the group of performers on stage was perfectly led by Faulkner, who then decided to initiate a dance competition amongst the audience in return for prize T-shirts. Enjoying the sense of crowd participation, Newton encourages harmonies amongst the audience, splitting them down the middle. He even pulls out a poncho for one song, for the entertainment of the audience, although this later detracts from the argument that he is “not that much of a hippy” when he attempts to defend his total lack of footwear.
Towards the end, Faulkner takes the time to thank everyone for coming, stating that he’s not a new artist and that it was always a surprise to get booked for gigs, and to then have “shitloads of people turn up!” He’s not a new artist, it’s been 10 years, but the respect and fandom he has gained is clearly extremely well-earned. Faulkner puts his heart and soul into performing, and it is a real treat to see just how much a man with a guitar can still enchant a room of people; he doesn’t tour very often, but if you get the chance to go and see this man, just do it- you won’t regret it.
Human Love is out now via BMG Rights Management
This Newton Faulkner article was written by Liss Boot-Handford, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson. Lead photo by rachaelhunter1