Review: David Ford puts the world to rights with passionate Norwich Arts Centre performance

David Ford performs at Norwich Arts Centre. Picture: David Hannant

David Ford performs at Norwich Arts Centre. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

David Ford may very well be music's brightest hidden gem.

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The Eastbourne singer and multi-instrumentalist has been performing for the best part of two decades, however, had never known widespread commercial success.

He does, however, have a modest, but immensely loyal following. At his Norwich Arts Centre gig, he demonstrated just why this is.

Joined by Michele Stodart of the Magic Numbers and American guitarist JP Ruggieri, the setup of the tour meant that there was little respite for any of the performers, as rather than playing separately, they rotated roles throughout the evening.

By the time it is David's turn to front the band, it is clear he is a man with more passion in one finger than the vast majority of other singers do in their entire bodies.

David Ford performs at Norwich Arts Centre. Picture: David Hannant

David Ford performs at Norwich Arts Centre. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant


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He pours relentless amounts of emotion into his vocal delivery, flitting effortlessly between a gentle singing and rafter-shaking roars. He also effortlessly switches between guitar and keys from song to song.

His whole performance oozes passion, even between songs. At one point, a short track introduction turns into an epic rant on economy collapse and financial injustice, delivered with such conviction that you could be left thinking that while David Ford doesn't run the world, he probably should.

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His musical style bears strong American influence - elements of Tom Waits particularly shine through - while lyrically he could give even Bob Dylan a run for his money. However, his delivery comes with a real English charm.

Through the evening, the rotating band display remarkable chemistry and enthusiasm for each other's songs - particularly impressive given that the first time they rehearsed together was less than a week ago.

Touring several new tracks for the first time, David also reels out several old favourites, including a barnstorming rendition of Ballad of Miss Lily and debut album standout track I Don't Care What You Call Me.

Somewhat bizarrely, the set is rounded off which a cover of The Knack's My Sharona, which the band tear through energetically.

At the Arts Centre, David Ford proved that as far as musicians go, finding somebody more versatile, passionate and talented than him is quite an ask. A stunning performance.

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