Benjamin Francis Leftwich | Review
Limelight, Belfast • Tuesday 07 March ‘ 17
By Chantelle Frampton
Benjamin Francis Leftwich provided us with a gripping and intimate show that was flawless from start to finish.
The night kicked off with local artist Travis is a Touriacst. From the beginning of the set Travis was incredibly relaxed and offered a lot of audience interaction and participation. It was a simple set with just Travis on stage with his guitar.
One track that particularly jumped out at me was the aptly titled ‘Stevie Nicks’. It was incredibly reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green days. It gained a very good reception from the crowd. He also played the crowd please ‘Paperweight’ before ending his set with ‘Loud’. He set the dynamic for the night which was chilled yet personal and engrossing.
The second support of the night was York based singer Sam from The Howl and the Hum. The first track of the night was ‘Remedy to Rust’. My first impressions were to compare it to the hauntingly gothic tones of The Handsome Family. It seemed very melancholic but beautiful at the same time.
The set had a similar vibe to Travis is a Tourist’s in that it was incredibly chill but there were jokes and stories told to the audience. One included his dad and camera; something we can all relate to with our parents. Throughout the set, Sam’s voice was astounding. He had incredible range and hit every single high note with unbelievable ease. The set finished on the single ‘Godmanchester Chinese Bridge’ to be released next week. It was a wonderful way to end a faultless set.
There was a short interval before our main headliner took the stage in the packed-out venue. He was met with waves of cheers and claps as he went into his first song ‘Tilikum’. It was incredible how the crowd went from making masses of noise to a silent reverence as Benjamin took to the mic. The lyrics such as “Be my rose, growing in the cold. Be my light in the window at home,” perfectly demonstrated from the get go that Benjamin is a beautiful storyteller.
He went on to sing the beautiful ‘Pictures’ with no microphone. Just Benjamin, the stage and us. It was incredible the way he voice carried across the room. Everyone was silent as they looked on in awe. As soon as the song was over the crowd erupted into cheers as Benjamin thanked us.
The set list was a mixture of old and new tracks which pleased newer fans and ones that can be seen as Leftwich veterans. Every single track was a slight glimpse into another world; the storytelling ability of his lyrics is nothing short of pure art. He played multiple tracks from his latest album including ‘Cocaine’, ‘Summer’ and ‘Frozen Moor’. The juxtaposition of the personal lyrics in each song and the intimate venue meant, for me, the entire night felt like a private gig.
I feel the thing that strikes me most about Benjamin Francis Leftwich is his incredible humility when he sings. The entire night was both enthralling and intimate and made for a beautifully peaceful Tuesday night.