Gig Review: Benjamin Francis Leftwich at Stiff Kitten (2nd November, 2012)

BY EMILY THORNHILL @EmmyThornhill

           The 22 year-old, Yorkshire sing songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich landed at The Stiff Kitten Club, Belfast on the 2nd of November 2012.

While the music industry is brimming with male singer songwriters at the moment, Benjamin Francis Leftwich seems to be coping just fine. The Stiff Kitten Club played host to a predominantly doe-eyed female student audience, who early on in the evening staked out the best view of the Yorkshire man, front row.

It wasn’t long before under a single ray of light with his numerous guitars and a small band, Leftwich began to serenade his audience and I too became one of those girls.

He opened up his set with the popular choice, “Pictures”. His harmonic voice soon resonated about the room, yet seemed somewhat effortless to say he was suffering from illness during the past week.

Throughout the gig, Leftwich remained extremely friendly and down to earth, engaging with the audience throughout and at the merchandise stall afterwards. He went on to play new songs on his album “Last Smoke Before The Snowstorm” such as “Manchester Snow” apparently about his recurrent one-night stands with a Manchester girl (who wasn’t particularly popular with the girls in the audience!) “Hole in My Hand” he went on to tell us, was a song about war that was inspired by the film “The Very Long Engagement”.

By far the most amazing moment throughout the entire night was when Leftwich’s band left the stage, and so did he. He moved right into the audience and played completely unplugged, just himself and an acoustic guitar. Submerged in silence, a sea of mobiles, cameras and desperate female fans swarmed around him. Dedicated to his band manager and his wife, Leftwich played “Atlas Hands” and his rough around the edges melodic voice filled the painstakingly quiet club beautifully. No one could fault his raw talent of simple melodies mixed with strong vocals.

Any doubt about the pure talent of Benjamin Francis Leftwich vanished within moments of his opening set. A hauntingly melodic voice backed up with minimal production left every member of the audience silent, which is no mean feat nowadays. Goosebumps and an undeniable love for this man is the only conclusion of attending his gigs, good luck to the eager female fans when Ben next returns to Belfast, I’ll be front row and center!

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