British multi-instrumentalist Newton Faulkner delivers a masterclass in creativity and showmanship at Sage Gateshead.
The versatile singer, songwriter and guitarist recently released a new greatest hits album The Very Best of Newton Faulkner ….So Far. This being a package that chronicles the first ten years and the opening chapter of his incredible career to this point. Subsequently, Faulkner is currently out on the road in support of this milestone release.
As the show beings, Newton Faulkner takes his position on a small riser positioned stage right that is equipped with a whole raft of musical contraptions, that each contributes significantly to the artist’s genre-defying and somewhat groundbreaking sound.
Faulkner is bedecked in a black t-shirt, paint splashed trousers, and colourful odd socks. The latter of which are also readily available at the merchandise stand out front, and are very popular by all accounts.
Newton Faulkner is simply a joy to watch. Often playing several parts simultaneously including bass drum with his left foot, synth with his right, electronic drums with one hand and his trusty acoustic guitar with the other, whilst at the same time sinking his heart and soul into his vocal delivery and fancy fretwork. This evening’s show is truly a spectacle to behold.
There are so many layers to Faulkner’s unique sound, and he is not content with limiting the musical elements of the show to those created on stage. For tonight, each and every member of the audience effectively join this veritable solo artist, as part of his band. Whether they are armed with a kazoo (again available from the merch desk) or just want to sing backing vocals, Faulkner finds a place for all in this completely inclusive experience.
Crowd participation is certainly the name of the game, as Newton Faulkner orchestrates the audience whilst already grappling with his own ensemble of instruments, frequently adding further layers of sound to great effect.
This evening’s show takes a retrospective look back on Newton Faulkner’s long and successful career, during a show that is full of hits and often interspersed with light-hearted and witty banter. Each sound within Faulkner’s vast musical landscape is well and truly represented this evening. From the electro/synth-fuelled “Clouds” and “Shadow Boxing”, the soulful “Finger Tips”, along with the song which started it all off for the man himself – the classic “Dream Catch Me”.
There is also room for some of Faulkner’s freshest cuts from his new album including “Don’t Leave Me Waiting”, which has an incredibly infectious contemporary feel. And at the other end of the spectrum, there is a real timeless quality to the rather folky “Take All You Want”.
Of course, Newton Faulkner is well renowned for putting his own unique, unpredictable and often challenging slant on cover songs from the full range of the musical spectrum. Early in the set, a gentle and soothing rendition of Massive Attack’s “Teardrops” mesmerises the audience, and sounds incredible inside of this acoustically perfect hall.
By his own admittance, every now and again he comes up with an arrangement for a cover that he regrets. And in this instance, its Jess Glynne’s “Million Reasons”, which he declares is ‘well hard’ due to its particularly high vocal register, but he certainly does it justice.
As we race towards the finish line a crowd-pleasing spell of back to back covers that include amongst others “No Diggity” and the theme to SpongeBob SquarePants, certainly hits the spot.
In an all-seater theatre like Sage Gateshead, it’s not unusual for the patrons to remain seated throughout. However, tonight Newton Faulkner has cast his spell over the room with his enchanting music and coaxes the fans up on their feet to wholeheartedly pogo in unison during “Write It On Your Skin”, which has to be a first in this room.
Tonight Newton Faulkner delivers a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining and enlightening show at Sage Gateshead, that leaves most of the audience wondering how on earth one man is capable of simultaneously making all of those sounds.
Now may well be a time for reflection for the gifted performer and songwriter, but on the strength of tonight’s performance, we firmly believe that for Newton Faulkner the best is still to come.
Event Date: 29-April-2019