Newton Faulkner at Rock City

It's a rarity to describe a gig as intimate without it translating as 'the artists nan and mates from his football team turned up'. Somehow, Newton Faulker made a sold out show in Rock City seem intimate. He replied to fans brave enough to interrupt the silent room with a shouted compliment. He apologised for his hoarse voice, the result of a chest infection. He even poured himself a cup of
tea. The crowd might as well have been in his bedroom, watching Newton rehearse. The nonchalant vibe Faulkner displayed fits perfectly with his musical style.

After chatting with excited fans Newton tuned his guitar and began with 'Where to Start'. The crowd responded positively to the first song from newest album 'Studio Zoo'. This album made musical history as he live streamed the whole recording process, the camera didn't turn off for the entire 5 weeks of recording. Rock City swayed to the sounds of Faulkner's intricate picking and soothing rhythms. It appeared that the sold out show was crammed with super fans (the ones who know every lyric to B sides). This was made apparent when Faulkner played his less catchy sing-along songs from his fourth album. He was still able to pause during verses and allow the rowdy audience to fill in silences.

Faulkner's guitar skills were particularly impressive. He oscillated between tuning mid song and playing tricky chords on the neck of acoustic guitar. Newton managed to multitask his busy picking fingers on one hand while the other knotted into odd positions in order to play his infectious guitar riffs. His complicated guitar skills have ironically made his songs notorious 'easy listening' tunes. Crazy fanatic levels hit the roof during 'Write It On Your Skin' an obvious favourite. This particular song has a country feel, an underlying Johnny Cash beat which was perfect for crowd clapping. His soft vocals miraculously carried over the deafening clapping. His mellow voice rarely changes pitch, he allows all the experimental aspect of his show to be left to his guitar handy work.

Faulkner's cover of Justin Timberlake's 'Like I Love You' was another highlight. The unique acoustic version of a song so very different from Faulkner's comfort zone was a risk that paid off. Heart throb, Timberlake's charm was even given justice as a few "Marry Me!" propositions were shouted out. Faulkner encore included his most successful single 'Dream Catch Me' which reached number 7 in the UK Top Charts in 2007. He ended the gig on the beautifully stripped down song 'Orange Skies'. Although this was not one of his most popular songs, Faulkner ended on a perfect song for displaying his musical ability. The ambient strums of his guitar and his hypnotic voice explained why the dreadlocked entertainer is worthy of his platinum title. Newton Faulkner exemplified how to enthuse a crowd into excitably chanting lyrics then transform into transfixed silence.

If you did miss Newton's amazing performance he will be playing Y Not Festival in Matlock (40 minutes away from campus) along with V Festival, T In The Park and Kendal Calling.


  1. I can't believe I missed him! We stumbled across him performing at Hop Farm in 2011 and he really was so fantastic, I was pretty darn-it mesmerised! In fact, we had planned to watch him at Glasto last year but let's leave the story of that failed attempt to another day!

    Sounds like a fab gig - I mean, hello, Newton AND tea?! I'll be sure to check out his most recent album now, Daisy!



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