‘Only Love’ from Ben Howard fans as he plays Lincoln

– Laura Stewart contributed to this report.

Singer-songwriter Ben Howard performed a mixture of old and new songs to a sold-out gig at the Engine Shed in Lincoln on November 20th, as part of his UK-wide tour.


Ben Howard performed hits including "Only Love", "Old Pine" and "Keep Your Head Up". Photo: Samantha Coombes

The show kicked off with support act and American singer-song writer Willy Mason, best known for the hit “Oxygen”. He warmed up the crowd with calm songs that the crowd listened to intently.

After finishing his performance, the stage went black and the crowd applauded, waiting for its next performer.

After a small wait, Howard took to the stage dressed in a plain blue top and jeans, with an acoustic guitar in hand. He opened the set with “The Burgh Island”, one of the newer tracks from his recent EP of the same name.

Released in October, “The Burgh Island” contains four new tracks; “Esmeralda”, “Oats in the Water”, “To Be Alone” and “Burgh Island”. All four were included in the set list and, despite being new material, were listened to intensely by the crowd.

Howard swiftly moved onto “Diamonds” from his debut album “The Kingdom”, which was also warmly welcomed by the crowd.

“Only Love” followed, which had the crowd singing along with Howard in turn during the chorus. The set also included well-known cult hit songs also from the debut album, such as “Black Flies”, “Old Pine” and “The Wolves”.

During songs such as “Old Pine” and “Only Love”, Howard gave a lively and energetic performance, carried across on beautiful male vocals and the acoustic set.

At one point, Howard shouted to the audience and thanked them for “clapping in time.” He continued: “At other shows, there’s been bad out of time clapping!” Disappointingly, this was the only real interaction with the crowd, as the singer put all his energy into performing.

Clearly at ease on the stage, Howard treated the crowd to a stunning performance of “Keep Your Head Up” to finish, upping the tempo of the set and making the crowd go crazy with excitement.

As the lights went down, the crowd seemed to calm, anticipating whether there would be an encore. After a few minutes passed, Howard obliged and walked back on stage to perform “The Burren”, concluding the night with “The Promise”.

As he sang, moving waves were projected onto a backdrop that helped capture and relax the audience, giving the gig more of an intimate feel after an energetic set.

After performing the entire set, Howard and his band clearly looked happy  as they walked over to the middle of the stage and bowed to the crowd – who reciprocated with huge cheers.

Throughout the night, Howard performed each song with strong vocals, clearly showing his talent as a singer-songwriter. It was obvious that he clearly loves what he’s doing.

Fans of Ben Howard will have enjoyed the set and maybe even fallen in love with him a little bit more, as he created a great atmosphere during the gig. Yet those who are not huge fans might not be able to shake off the feeling that, despite all his talent, it lacked a certain something to make it a really unique performance.

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