Review: Newton Faulkner, Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre, Newcastle

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WHAT do you get when you cross a man, a guitar and an unending mass of long ginger dreadlocks?

No, not Bob Marley’s long-lost cousin. You get Newton Faulkner.

The acoustic guitar virtuoso graced the North East this week as part of his nationwide tour in the build up to the release of his new album, Write It On Your Skin.

Not knowing too much about him, apart from the fact that he does have long ginger dreadlocks, I went along to have a listen.

From the moment he appeared he had the crowd instantly engaged and this is something that would define the rest of the gig, whether through banter between songs, attempting to retune his guitar or producing a tea pot and mug from the middle of a free-standing globe on stage.

Not that interaction is the be-all-and-end-all when seeing an artist perform, but it definitely helps, especially compared to the many fairly arrogant performers I have seen in the past.

But persiflage aside, there is no doubt it will be his voice and guitar playing that will stick in my memory for a long time to come.

It was soon quite obvious why he is a double platinum selling artist, as the stunning technique he displayed on the guitar and the range of his voice were a real joy to behold.

He rattled through many of his old songs, including the number one hit Dream Catch Me, as well as plenty from the forthcoming release.

He also threw in some stunning covers, including Tear Drop by Massive Attack and a sensational rendition of Superstition by Stevie Wonder, a personal highlight of mine.

Another memorable moment was when he divided the multi-tiered Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre in Newcastle into thirds and got each group to sing a different part to the song.

This sounds like quite a difficult task, but it worked perfectly and he capped it off by producing an amazingly-high harmony to go with it.

I think, overall, it has become quite clear that I enjoyed seeing him play.

In fact I think it’s safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In this day and age of over-produced reality TV-drenched cringe worthy music, it’s always refreshing to see an artist who is genuinely talented, whether you like his music or not.

However, in an attempt to provide balance I’ve tried to think of one thing that frustrated me, and all I could come up with was that I hadn’t listened to him sooner.