REVIEW: Richard Hawley Colston Hall by Martin Booth 9/10
"SOMEONE call 999. Richard Hawley's been robbed."
So said the Arctic Monkeys when collecting their Mercury Prize in 2007, such is the respect in which they hold their fellow Sheffield musician Hawley.
It was the Brit Awards on Wednesday night – another award that Hawley was nominated for and didn't win (in this case Best British Male Solo Artist, which was won by Ben Howard).
Instead of going to the ceremony in London he was here with us in Bristol, only making a passing reference to the awards. There was a competition though, as he asked his family in the audience what animated television series a particular song had featured in.
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They couldn't answer and it was left to a fan near the front to answer correctly that it was Tonight The Streets Are Ours that can be heard in a Simpsons episode, and also used in the Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.
"I love you," Hawley deadpanned to his knowledgeable fan.
Opening the evening before Hawley was The Crookes, looking slightly more suited to the Louisiana or Thekla but nonetheless impressing with a sound that was reminiscent of the White Stripes when the drums were at their fiercest.
Hawley appeared with his regular band to rapturous applause and a hugely impressive light show. He is a musician who was in the Longpigs and later played guitar in Pulp, but he has found his niche as a solo singer songwriter.
He is an accomplished guitarist and his guitars were handed to him like cherished pieces of family silver.
This was beautiful songwriting that tugged at the heartstrings. Many eyes were certainly not dry when he played favourites like Soldier On or Open Up Your Door.
Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory has just started its annual run in Southville, and Birnam Wood could have not just come to Dunsinane but also to the Colston Hall stage, which was festooned with trees.
Just another magical element of a sumptuous evening of music.