Newton Faulkner – Live Review – Holmfirth Picturedrome
By Victoria Holdsworth, September 2021
There is a distinct buzz of excitement tonight as Newton Faulkner takes to the stage, looking fresh, and raring to go with an air of confidence I have not seen him possess before.
The man of the hour really looks humbled by his crowd in attendance tonight, especially after the woes this past 18-months have thrown at us. He wastes little time with an enthralling opener of, Smoked Icecream with its poignant lyrics; “If my time is fleeting don’t want to waste it”.
There is new material tonight from Newton’s new album release, Interference (Of Light) and ‘Sinking Sand’ is very well received with its messages of positivity and optimism. The crowd hangs on every word and their participation of unified voices is almost like it has been a part of his set list for years. Some gorgeous riffs and tweaks lend the song a unique sound and rhythm, and showcases how the past couple of years have matured Faulkner into an insightful songwriter and musician.
There are some of the usual culprits from his back catalogue, and whilst ‘Teardrop’ catapulted him into a radio play staple, I have never been a fan of the song. That said, you cannot deny his unique spin on it.
‘Four Leaf Clover’ is another new track and sounds simply stunning played live. It just screams summer at you and has a real feel good factor about it. There are grinning faces everywhere I look and everyone is getting their sway on to this – it’s a definite future anthem once it starts making its way around the festival scene.
Although Newton has ramped up his use of technology recently, he still manages to keep some things simplistically beautiful. This really shines through on ‘Fingertips’ – as indeed does his axe skills. Another brilliant performance follows with ‘I Need Something’ which sees him really connect with the crowd. Newton’s witty banter and audience participation is second to none, and comes very naturally, which really helps things resonate. He always takes time out to share stories of his life with the fans.
Stand out tunes tonight were the epic ‘Dream Catch Me’, which sounds so much better live, and really stirs the soul, but it’s the texture to his live voice, rather than a recording, which will aurally amaze you. ‘Write It On Your Skin’ is another cleverly constructed song that will have you singing it for weeks on end.
‘Leave Me Lonely’ is a wake up for the ears, with some intricate electronica beats, blues rasp vocals, and a fuzzed out guitar mix which works superbly. It’s probably my favourite of the whole night – and mark my words – we could certainly be looking at the next Peter Gabriel after witnessing this execution of what can only be described as a musical masterclass.
Newton starts to end his set with another catchy little anthem, ‘Gone In The Morning’, and the crowd eruption is ground shaking, with its forceful hooks and uplifting melody, you cannot help but grin from ear to ear.
Last song of the night, ‘It’s Getting Late’, also from the new album, is almost as if Newton is singing us a lullaby, wrapping up a dreamy message of hope: “But there’s an end in site/If you let me know that souls are never divided/Souls are never divided”.
You could see that the audience and the artist both loved their time together this evening, and who wouldn’t? Newton Faulkner is an artist who has it all and judging from the reactions to his new material, his career could be about to go stratospheric.