'Close your eyes and let it wash over you' Richard Hawley review at the University of East Anglia LCR
PUBLISHED: 20:57 05 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:29 06 October 2019
Richard Hawley could play the LCR every night for a month and I would go to every one - and not grow bored at any of them either.
Not only does he have a fantastic back catalogue, amassed over 18 prolific years as a solo artist, his shows are always top notch due to his stunning guitar playing, that wonderful, gravelly voice, a band that never misses a note and his entertaining and droll Yorkshire patter.
And tonight, his third UEA visit in seven years, is no different as he rattles through songs from his stellar career in a thrilling set to a busy and appreciative Norwich crowd.
Hawley is back in Norfolk (he's actually a regular visitor due to family connections) on the back of his eighth studio album Further, which he proudly tells us made the top 3 of the British album charts.
It's classic Hawley, an enjoyable mix of rock and roll, country, rockabilly and tender love songs - all the things that have made him so highly regarded, if not as popular as he deserves to be.
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While I wouldn't list it as his best album, played tonight several of the tracks come to life, in particular Is There A Pill?, Midnight Train, Off My Mind and Further.
But it's some of his more established songs that turn this gig from good to great and bring to life a crowd which takes a little while to warm up.
I genuinely can't think of a Hawley song I don't like, but I love it when he stretches the tracks a little bit and takes them out of the comfort zone.
Highlights therefore include a throbbing Standing At The Sky's Edge, the epic Don't Stare At The Sun, a lively Down In The Woods and the set's penultimate song There's A Storm Coming, which sounds like the perfect song to end to any film or TV drama.
After all these years the ultra-critical might accuse of Hawley of not stretching himself. And granted, in true Yorkshire style, he knows what he likes and does what he likes.
But when he does it this damn well it's impossible not to just close your eyes, let it wash over you and enjoy the moment.
* Impassioned solo artist Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly headlined this very same venue back in 2007 so it's a real treat to have him on the same bill as Hawley. And he doesn't disappoint with 45 minutes of lyrically strong, very personal, at times political, acoustic numbers. Having seen him all those years ago he'd fallen off my radar, but his talent has remained and his anguished tunes seem all the more relevant in these divided times. Get him to the Arts Centre soon please.