Keaton Henson, Cinema Museum, London, 4th October 2012
By Ryan D Hughes
What a venue. Cinema Museum is a place of intrigue, atmosphere and full to the small brim of sound/cool people all congregated for the man of mystery that is Keaton Henson. He is one intriguing character with his stage fright and apparent reclusive lifestyle, topped off with a great beard!
WALL kicked off the evening with their brand of slow folky electronic music. A three piece containing duet folk band members of Lowpines (formerly Olfar), confusing I know. Their music was slow, bassy and formulaic but this creates a lovely flow throughout the set. Finishing with the excellent single ‘Magazine’, I’d highly recommend you give both ‘WALL’ and ‘Lowpines’ a listen. I’ll be honest, opening for Keats wouldn’t be easy and they were ace.
On to the main event….. Keaton, not being a man to create attention for himself, opted to have cellist Ren Ford open up his set with a 10 minute or so beautiful and gripping solo. So gripping that most of the crowd missed Keaton’s arrival on stage.
They opened the set together beautifully with Keaton on his electric guitar performing the new song ‘Sweetheart’ before switching to acoustic for ‘Small Hands’. Both songs are beautiful and heartfelt as is custom with this intriguing man. I had felt slightly apprehensive about this performance with Keaton’s crippling stage fright but in fact what this means is he gets completely immersed in the music and opens his heart with every lyric delivered and string plucked.
He then invited sister trio band ‘The Staves’ on stage to perform to help out on a new number ‘In the Morning’. No not a cover of the wet indie-pop band Razorlight or Canadian indie-electro outfit Junior Boys. The addition of these three soft female vocals brought a lovely extra dimension to the song. They stayed on for an additional song as they performed their own song ‘Icarus’.
Back to solo stuff with ‘Sarah Minor’ and the new one ‘Best Today’ which is absolutely brilliant and I can’t wait to hear a recorded version. Whilst its classic Keaton it has a slightly more catchy and uplifting element. Then came the stonker ‘You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are’. Need I say anything about this song. Its one of the best ever written and was performed beautifully. He finished the set with three new tracks and had Ren for company for most. I liked how Big Keats looked to be enjoying himself towards the end and showed great humour saying “this next one is about a female for a change”.
As he scurried off stage the whole crowd gave him a standing ovation. The true mark of brilliance to this man is that he gripped the entire audience for all 10 songs even with new stuff and as me and my company for the evening discussed he could have played a totally different 10 and we would have left equally as happy.