Newton Faulkner – 29th April 2019 – Gateshead Sage
I’ll always be in awe of musicians and how they can get up on a stage in front of people and pretty much lay themselves out open and hope it pleases people. Even more so when it’s just one solo artist who doesn’t have a drummer/bass player etc to turn towards for support or to blame.
Newton Faulkner is currently one such solo performer having started out that way then having a touring band and also playing arenas in the last production of War of the Worlds he’s now back with a double “greatest hits” album featuring songs from the last decade of his releases (yeah really a decade!) and a number of cover versions that he has made his own over the years.
Newton arrives on stage to a huge applause “quite nice here innit?” he quips in a self-deprecating kind of way as if to say “not sure what I’m doing here” but as he starts his first number If This Is It it’s obvious why he is here and why the room is full. His voice is incredible almost not needing the mic it’s so powerful and his range is second to none. The set is made up of tracks from the hits album with a couple of new songs for good measure
At the merch stall, there was an odd item in the Tour Kazoo which was soon utilised by Newton when splitting the crowd into groups to perform separate parts of the song becoming a huge backing band with a kazoo section!
Not that he needed one mind you! this multi-talent at one point was playing a kick drum with his left foot chorus pedals with his right, a guitar melody with his left hand, drum pads with his right and remembering the lyrics he was singing. Impressive as I can’t even rub my belly and pat my head at the same time! He did mention having been accused of looping and/or miming in the past but having found myself hypnotised by his movements I can verify it’s all done live! Talented sod! Massive Attacks’ Teardrop is the first of the cover versions aired tonight and it is just an absolutely beautiful take on the song you could hear a pin drop as he performed it.
One of the things I love about Newton though is he is such a charming witty guy and he has a brilliant rapport with his audience chatting to a 1500 crowd like it was a few pals in a cafe or front room it’s that friendly. He leaves his little podium to perform at the side of the stage under a stark bulb saying he’s going back to where it all starts going right and plays I Need Something my favourite of his and the hairs stand up on my neck like the first time I heard it, just perfect.
Against The Grain showcases that vocal range hitting those high notes with ease and Jess Glynnes Million Reasons sounds amazing in this room it just fills it effortlessly.
Throughout the set he keeps cracking himself up just bursting out into laughter at little things. I’m not sure if it’s nerves or if he seriously still can’t believe people love to see him play or just the way his brain works throwing ideas around constantly! Either way, this just lends itself to his already likeable nature making this one of the most relaxed atmospheres I’ve been in this venue.
Dream Catch Me and a medley of covers including No Diggity, Send Me On My Way and of course Spongebob Square Pants have the audience on its feet but he’s not finished yet and he has the downstairs jumping up and down and balconies banging their heads ( no jumping on balcony for safety reasons haha) to the infectious Write It On Your Skin.
Once again using sections of the crowd to sing parts of Orange Skies the set closes and looking around the hall there’s nothing but warm happy smiles. Maybe it’s time to start prescribing live music to lift the spirits.
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