Ben Howard @ Paradise Rock Club 9.22.12
by Christina Spleen, published September 26th 2012
When I arrived at the sold-out Paradise on September 22, there was a line for singer/songwriter, Ben Howard, that wrapped all the way around the back. Unassuming in jeans and a printed t-shirt, he looked every bit the reflective boyish musician every girl wanted to “marry”. Quiet, cheeky smile included. When Ben took the stage just a bit past 9‘oclock, being an all ages show, there were no shortage of young girls screaming at the adorably British musician, who would then respond with a humble smile, quiet banter, and a sip from his coffee mug.
This concert felt introspective and emotionally cathartic, especially when Howard would play one of his most emotional hits, “Old Pine”. The audience joined him as he sang about warm nostalgic youth– sad that it’s gone but at the same time recognizing how we must grow, grow. To further understand the motivation behind Ben Howard’s music you should listen to “Follaton Woods”, which Ben Howard wrote about his ex-girlfriend who commited suicide. Roughly all the songs in his Every Kingdom album are influenced by this tragedy, including crowd favorites “Only Love” and “Keep Your Head Up”. He played each song with that quiet, yet powerful voice. Each note pick and foot stomp resonated with the crowd in the most beautiful way. The size of the venue combined with Ben Howard’s such personal lyrics made for an almost spiritual concert experience.