Benjamin Francis Leftwich: Live at Whelan’s, Dublin Review
The past few weeks have gone pretty well for Benjamin Francis Leftwich. His debut album ‘Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm’ entered the Top 40 UK album charts and it was announced that a remix E.P would be released on September 4th. No, that’s not enough ‘Atlas Hands’ has been given the once over by The Street’s Mike Skinner and was given the title of Hottest Record in The World on Zane Lowe’s radio show.
July 20th saw Benjamin take in a Dublin show on his tour. By the time he was to come to the upstairs stage in Whelan’s, the crowd had pushed right up to the front. It’s not the best venue to get a vantage point if there’s a crowd but from where I was, it was as good as being a winner of Benjamin’s live in your living room gig competitions that he’s been running on his site.
As Ben’s roadie sorts out the stage for him, something catches my eye. Instead of a set list written on a piece of paper, the artist has his set list in a notebook. This is kinda cute, it’s like each gig for him is one to cherish.
The York singer seems quite humbled by the fact that people are here to see him, as he starts ‘1904’ he thinks something is not quite right with the P.A. sound but he battles on and delivers a tender and beautiful rendition of the song. Later in the show, he admits he was a bit thrown off when he came onto the stage and thanks everyone for their patience and quietness.
On record, Ben’s songs are spacious and beautifully arranged. Here, his solo performance heightens their personal heartfelt lyrics even more. Even though his album is just out, I always like to hear new music from artists on the rise. Ben treats us to ‘Is That You On That Plane?’ which he tells was written in Sydney when he was chilling very hard. Other tracks included Butterfly Culture, Bottle Baby and Shine.
Judging by crowd reaction, Leftwich is slowing working his way into the Irish psyche. Best received songs on the night were ‘Pictures’ and ‘Box of Stones’. If he continues to grow and convert people at this rate, his possible Sugar Club gig later this year will definitely be one to book early.