By MaryAnn Odete
On Friday January 30th, Ben Howard continued his tour at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. Howard is a U.K. based musician who recently launched his music in the U.S. On Friday, Howard played to a sold out show, with fans filling the entire pit. Opening for Howard was North Carolina folk band Hiss Golden Messenger.
Hiss Golden Messenger gave a solid performance, but it was not very rousing. It was their last night on tour with Howard and they gave a decent final performance. The lead singer’s, M.C. Taylor, voice had a sort of gravely tone to it, which went nicely with the genre of music the band played, however their 45 minute set dragged on a bit.
Howard came on stage not too long after. He took his seat on center stage, got his guitar situated, and began playing. Save for a few walks around the stage, Howard did not move around too much. Despite this, he still managed to hold a sort of command over the audience. Concert goers cheered him through every song, from the pit to the balcony.
His set included some of his more well-known songs such as “The Fear,” but he mainly sang songs off his new album, “I Forget Where We Are.” The audience was even treated to an encore.
His cellist India Bourne was a charming presence and a great representation of female musicians in a show that was, for the most part, male-dominated.
The downside to these types of concerts, where the music is of a more calming variety, is that the music can lead to tiredness. Howard managed to keep the audience pumped the entire time which is an accomplishment all in itself.
Howard’s show featured exceptional lighting, a backup band that supported his smooth voice, and was an overall solid and entertaining performance. Ben Howard proved to the people of the Hammerstein Ballroom that he is, above all else, a top-notch entertainer. In the end, that’s really all one could ask for in a live show.
Maryann Odete is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.