Gig review: Newton Faulkner, Edinburgh

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A MOSTLY standing crowd crammed into Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on Wednesday night to hear the wistful and occasionally somewhat weedy sounds of mightily-dreadlocked singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner, and to revel in his great acoustic guitar playing.

Newton Faulkner

Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Star rating: * * *

For an artist whose muse is so inoffensive, Faulkner is a divisive figure. His fans appreciate his skills as a musician and a distinctive voice which mostly overcomes its nasal elements to conjure a rich, soothing croon; and this particular stage show saw his own proficiency bolstered by a trio of occasional backing musicians who flitted between guitar, keyboard, cello and a chorus of backing vocals. Yet at the same time his white-boy beatnik image jars, and so effusively polite was his chat between songs that he appeared thrown by even the gruffly appreciative heckles.

This was the epitome of a show which deserves its audience through the performer’s ability and sheer hard work, while not going out of its way to truly surprise or inspire at any point (although the brief take on Justin Timberlake’s Like I Love You was unexpected, as was his decision to play an encore after ten years of swearing off them). The high points, as expected, included his cover of Massive Attack’s Teardrop and his signature track Dream Catch Me, while the saccharine amiability of At the Seams and Waiting On You were among the best examples of a style which draws in listeners who like a certain level of comfort in their music.

Seen on 11.02.14

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