I'm not going to lie, I really wasn't too familiar with Ben Howard in the weeks leading up to his sold out show at the House of Blues in Dallas. But once I did my research, I was more than impressed with the the shaggy-haired surfer from Devon. His sound can't be classified into any one genre but the bulk of his music has a folksy feel, stemmed from his singer-songwriter roots. Touring the US in support of last year's release, I Forget Where We Were, Howard is trying to make a household name for himself, something he's been able to do aboard. And judging by the amount of sold out shows he's been performing to on this tour, I think he's doing exactly that.
Before Howard graced the stage, Willy Mason, a consistent member of Howard's tours, played a 45-minute set alongside his percussionist. Mason's set was nothing elaborate, just the drums, his guitar and voice. Mason's music did well with the House of Blues audience but I bet it would also work well with a dive bar crowd. As Howard stepped in front of the anticipating crowd, you knew you were in for something special. The lighting of the show was an extension of each song, creating the perfect atmosphere for the music at hand. From the calm spotlight on Howard on songs like "Condrad" or "In Dreams" to the chaotic during "I Forget Where We Were", the latter feeling more like Explosions in the Sky rather than singer-songwriter. But the highlights of the set were Howard's voice and guitar playing. His voice shaking with emotion, never reaching a yell but you could feel the emotion he was emitting. His guitar felt the same way, from atmospheric layers to precise, lightning-quick plucking, it was a real treat to watch. Overall, I thought this show was spectacular. Photos of the show are below:
Ben Howard / Willy Mason @ House of Blues, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 12:00:00 PM Rating: