Gig review: Keaton Henson, Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow

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For an artist who has complained in the past of crippling shyness and stage fright, this Glasgow stop on his UK tour – the first of two – was perhaps at an appropriate venue for London singer-songwriter Keaton Henson.

Keaton Henson

Mitchell theatre, Glasgow

Star rating: * * * *

Having stipulated that he wanted to play somewhere different, Henson appeared 
here in an elegant wood-panelled drawing room at the top of the Mitchell Library’s grand marble staircase, an intimate location by any means, regardless of the sense of confined grandeur.

Bearing a sense of amiable timidity in person, Henson delivered a set which succeeded mostly by way of ramping up the very tropes by which the craft of the lone post-Buckley, post-Drake, post-Cohen singer-songwriter has been traditionally formed – a sense of fragility and introspection borne out by minimal, delicately strummed guitar backing and a voice which sounded at once ready to shatter with sadness, yet strong in its desire to articulate an unwelcome dismay with the world.

Henson, also a visual artist, came across precisely as a lo-fi troubadour is meant to in the new millennium, but with an amplified emotive quality which made all the difference in terms of authenticity and identification.

The set was just a little over half an hour in length, yet the depth of feeling and resonance in songs like Sweetheart, What Have You Done to Us? and You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are seemed to satisfy a youthful hipster crowd who appeared a little taken aback by the early finish.