There are few artists in Britain today that can captivate a sold out audience armed with merely with a voice and an acoustic guitar – fewer still that can silence one to the point of palpable admiration. This was the scene at May’s intimate gig at Cavern, where the time-slowing stillness of his songs, punctuated by the roar of 200 disbelieving fans, eventually gave way to a shiver-inducing ‘whisper-along’ to Atlas Hands. Clear your schedule – Benjamin’s coming back to the South West.
Off the back of his long overdue second album, After The Rain, which recently dropped this August, he will be doing a string of UK dates in late September to showcase a personal album in which he has put grief and redemption to tape. It is an album for the down-on-luck romantics whose inner flame of optimism they have trusted to guide them out of hardship – and so is his live show.
At Cavern, comeback single Tilikum was the only new one to make the setlist – which was crafted mainly to reprise his shimmering first record and remind us of the uniqueness of his hushed confessions. Thankfully so, as the new songs would have felt incongruous without the context of the new album, an issue which I addressed in my review of it. On September 24th, I’ll be interested to witness first-hand how he expresses his newfound joviality in a live capacity and whether he can turn The Fleece into yet another sea of gawking punters on the brink of spiritual catharsis. Be sure to join me.