Review: Newton Faulkner

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The Cockpit, Leeds

It’s been five years since Newton Faulkner, with his distinctive ginger dreadlocks and baggy jeans, entered the charts with folk-pop hit, Dream Catch Me.

The Surrey-born guitar virtuoso has kept a low-profile since, leaving everyone wondering whether he was just a one-hit wonder.

However, when he cheekily ambled on stage at the Leeds Cockpit armed with a cup of tea, two guitars and some effects pedals, he seemed in no rush to prove the doubters wrong.

After opening the set with Pulling Teeth (from forthcoming album Write It On Your Skin), he treated us to a tongue-in-cheek flamenco version of the song.

Half an hour passed, and only four tracks had been played, including People Should Smile More from first album, Hand Built By Robots. The audience expected this carefree attitude and his commanding voice and flawless falsetto made it well worth waiting for.

The first noticeable use of effects pedals (drum, bass and clap sounds) came with a crowd- pleasing cover of Superstitious by Stevie Wonder; it was a shame these weren’t used more in his primarily acoustic set.

The enchanting Teardrop sent his audience into a meditative state, whilst Dream Catch Me rounded off the night nicely with a pleasant sing-a-long.

Going to see Faulkner is much like going to a really great open mic night and you immediately feel welcomed by him – he’s a man who clearly loves to perform in front of a live audience.

Unfortunately, the set started to drag though towards the end – maybe he ought to reintroduce a band just as he did when he first started touring to liven things up a little.

Having said all that, if experiencing the simplicity of one man with a guitar is your thing, the laid-back Newton Faulkner is a man you can’t help but love.