Newton Faulkner @ o2 Academy, Newcastle 2nd November 2017

Newton Faulkner is one of the most originally creative, free spirited acoustic rockers the UK has seen for years. His musical journey has been a fascinating one, and his exploration of sound is truly remarkable.

Since his chart topping, Dream Catch Me days, Newton has become more of a cult hero than a national icon, and it suits him. He plays reasonably big venues to likeminded people who appreciate his talent, his grace and his improvisation, and most of all he puts on one hell of a show.

Having released his fifth studio album this year, and toured with Amy MacDonald in early spring, Newton Faulkner is now on an assault across the UK to share his new music and give back to the loyal fans who continue to support him.

This time round, he’s brought the immensely talented Sam Brookes on the road with him, who like Faulkner, brings a mystical acoustic charm to his playing style. With a number of albums and big tours under his belt, Brookes was more the equipped to warm up last night’s eager Newcastle crowd.

With a decent length set that included some of his best known tracks, such as Numb and Crazy World and You, he lifted the energy levels within the Academy and gained more than a few fans.

As the main man entered the stage, humble as ever, the crowd were ready to go, and Newton Faulkner wasted no time getting started. From the minute he picked up his guitar, he began spinning his magical acoustic rock with freedom and joy, looking like a man that is fully in love with being on stage.

With the purpose of the tour being to spread the word of Hit The Ground Running, it came as no surprise that the set featured a number of songs from the album, including the title track, Smoked Ice Cream, Finger Tips and The Good Fight.

These songs were carefully fitted into a set that felt effortless. Newtown Faulkner’s ability to work the room from behind a piano and standing exposed on stage, armed only with an acoustic guitar is unparalleled, along with his ability to improvise and veer off on beautifully crafted tangents.

Along with his new stuff, the audience were treated to a number of old favourites, such as the aforementioned Dream Catch Me, Finger Tips and Write It On Your Skin. These tracks got the audience singing and dancing, after what was a uniquely cathartic experience.

Few musicians could own a stage with just an acoustic guitar and a piano, and truly own the stage. But, that is exactly what Newton Faulkner did, along with offering humorous anecdotes about his son, and comical claims about encores and forced clapping. If you haven’t seen this man play, go and get a ticket, you will not be disappointed.

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