Stepping out on stage in a double denim ensemble with a hairstyle that wouldn’t look out of place in Grease, Richard Hawley wows the audience of Southampton Guildhall with a selection of new songs from his latest album Hollow Meadow, mixed with a few old favourites.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist, Hawley found success in the 90s as part of Britpop band Longpigs, before joining his friend Jarvis Cocker in English indie band Pulp. As a solo musician Hawley has released several albums, working alongside The Arctic Monkeys and Paul Weller and has even been nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize twice.
Walking into the Guildhall I was taken aback by how chilled out the atmosphere was, people were sitting down swaying gently to the dulcet tones of the supporting act, Whitby born, singer songwriter, Marry Waterson. On a usual night it would be unheard of to sit down in the middle of the hall from fear of being trampled to death by an unruly mosh pit.
After what seemed like an incredibly long wait between acts (most likely due to the extravagant stage set and lighting) the audience all rose to their feet to cheer Hawley and his band on stage.
Moving guitar riffs, Hawley’s incredible vocals and a guitar change for every song all added to the rock and roll atmosphere.
Even though the average age of the audience was forty odd and there was some interesting ‘dad dancing’ going on, Hawley’s set of a mixture of acoustic and electric songs appealed to all ages.
Playing on his northern charm, Hawley joked and chatted with the audience creating a fun and lively vibe. After one member of the audience declared her love for him, Hawley asked; ‘How old are you, love’ to which she shouted back ‘55’. Hawley simply responded; ‘I have peas in my freezer older than you love.’ Showing that he had no problems with making fun of his own age.
In his time Hawley has written some catchy tunes but the only way to really listen to them is live, he is one of the few artists around to actually sound far better when performing a live set. The stand out song of the night had to be Tonight The Streets Are Ours, a beautiful acoustic song that showcased Hawley’s hugely talented vocal ability.