Rewind to 2011 and Ben Howard was exciting stuff- he’d toured our summer festivals around the country and was rumoured to be the up and coming star of the year. One year on, Ben Howard and co. have a worldwide following, have covered insanely popular songs on the radio, including their live lounge version of Carly Rey Jepson’s ‘Call Me Maybe’, which has had over six million views on Youtube and his debut albumn Every Kingdom has been nominated for the 2012 Mercury prize after a successful tour in the US.
But more importantly, this well respected and highly talented musician came back to Bournemouth to bring his biggest headline tour to a sold out show at Bournemouth’s O2 academy this November.
In the long queue, hoards of fans braved the wind and rain to make it to the show and upon entrance, it was clear by the sheer amounts of people that his initial loyal following of surfers and music lovers had swollen to a huge sea of Ben Howard enthusiasts. Depsite the numbers of people, there remained still a calm and common minded atmosphere. Everyone was there to bask in the beautiful melodies from his debut albumn Every Kingdom.
Guests were welcomed by the raw folk rhythms of Willy Mason on arrival and pleasant sounds from the stage were the signature of the American folk musician who was rumoured to be Ben’s warm up act. A few lively country tunes later and excitement oozed throughout the place as a curious energy filled the room. The three layered hall of the academy filled up to the gods, had eager ears listening and awaiting the first appearance.
A spotlight hit the stage and a familiar figure strolled casually and cooly onto stage with fellow bandmates India Bourne, and the Bond brothers. Ben begins with famous favourites and echos of Old Pine and Diamonds linger as the crowd awaits some of his unreleased Eps.
Burgh Island and Esmerelda have a slightly darker feel to them and the academy listens intently to the world premier of White Lights, written at the same time as Esmerelda.
Ben comments: “I don’t remember it being this big here.”
An encore encourages the last couple of tunes out of the band in which an impressive version of Promise plays out to backdrop footage of driving home. Ben salutes a satisfied and mesmirised ocean of supporters who will come back again again to hear the therepeutic tones of this unique and inspiring artist.