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Live Review: Benjamin Francis Leftwich (Nottingham Glee Club)

Photography: Pip

As the sweltering heat gave way to an autumn breeze, an acoustic night at Nottingham’s inviting Glee Club was certainly a hot spot. Delivering the talents of the hyped Benjamin Francis Leftwich and offering two of the finest upcoming artists in the genre, it provided an event that was rich in honesty, talent and skilled artistry and brought a glow to the chilly evening.
Beginning with the acoustic singer-songwriter Monument Valley, the vibe of the evening is set. As he opens with the catchy ‘Plans’ (available for download here, grab it whilst you can) his music offers much for those that listen closely to his emotional deliverance. He provides more than a hook or two, as the profusion of passion and talent seeps from his performance.The remarkable talent Daughter played a short selection of tracks in support of the stunning EP ‘His Young Heart’ with the marvellous ‘Landfill’ being a standout, as well as the gentle warmth of ‘Candles’. Tonra’s stunning vocals floated atop the soundscapes generated by her and the accompanying guitar player bringing a welcome silence to the room as the chatter grew with their memorable set.
After making his mark on the last year, Benjamin Francis Leftwich has earned the headline spot. Relentlessly marketing, touring and creating his debut album, his hard work pays off with quite a few squeals from dedicated fans, particularly as he announces ‘Pictures’ and ‘Atlas Hands’.
Appealing to a younger demographic than his mature debut would suggest, his husky voice fuelled with honest performance captures the attention of his audience. During his performance of a sensational new track titled ‘Break The Day Open’, the room descended into a silence coated with an almost tangible atmosphere which sets Leftwich apart from most other performers.
“I fought to keep this acoustic” he explains, rejecting the idea of taking a band on tour. But there is still a sense of variety to the nights proceedings as he picks up an electric guitar to perform a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Atlantic City’, putting a unique spin on it with his inimitable voice. Set highlights come from the albums standout tracks ‘Butterfly Culture’ and ‘Box Of Stones’ as well as the aforementioned ‘Atlas Hands’ that is only glorified by the set’s prevalent simplicity .
Returning quickly for an encore rendition of his albums title track ‘Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm’, he resorts to an unplugged intimacy that elevates the track for the live circuit. Playing along with the inevitable clattering of a working bar as opposed to against it proves to be in Benjamin’s favour as he earns a few laughs for his reaction to a pretty loud crash, followed shortly by a ringing phone. There is not an ego in sight tonight and it looks set to stay that way in the future. 
Photo: Pip
Words: Simon McMurdo

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