On a cold and wet April evening, Nottingham Rock City was a very welcome sight; it has always been and will probably always continue to be my favorite venue to go and see live music…
Newton Faulkner has always been an artist that I have enjoyed, his debut album ‘Hand Built By Robots’ was a beautiful album made unique by Newton’s style of playing, I believe he was certainly one of the originators of using his guitar as a form of percussion while playing it. Many people have used this style since the release of that first album but I don’t believe anyone has done it as well.
From the moment a shoeless Newton walks out onto the stage he oozes confidence, he is a man that is clearly comfortable on stage and from striking his very first chord he has the crowd in the palm of his hand. Saying all that, he balances out his confidence with a humbleness that I have rarely seen with a performer of his stature.
The set started incredibly simply, with Newton front and center, just him and his acoustic guitar; the crowd singing along and enjoying every moment. He then bought out his band, the two Tonys, one on drums and one playing a ukulele- a nice switch to a bigger, fuller band sound all the while maintaining the integrity of Newton’s sound. The two Tonys continued to hop on and off the stage throughout the evening performing on multiple instruments, sometimes not playing anything but just providing backing vocals. These guys had a great chemistry together and with Newton.
At one point Newton bought out his “magic guitar” an instrument I’m still not sure I’ve gotten my head around. He has somehow hooked his guitar up through a midi cable (as well as his normal jack lead), his guitar then turned into a sample pad of sorts making different percussion noises dependent on where on the body he hit it. He took great pleasure in showing his new toy off to the crowd and almost came across as a little apologetic because of his own self-indulgence, Newton clearly understands his fans, and is self aware enough to understand that his style could be perceived that way. At the end of the song he even checked with the crowd to make sure they enjoyed the magic guitar as much as he did, obviously they did.
Standing out for me was the way Newton interacted with the crowd, at one point checking everyone was okay, singling people out and asking them if they were having a good time or if they needed anything, stating he wanted to be a “good host”. Newton Faulkner was indeed a good host and it was an absolute pleasure to spend an evening with him.
Newton Faulkner’s latest album is called ‘Human Love’ and is available now, he continues his tour up until the end of the summer and all details can be found on his website.