Live Review: Benjamin Francis Leftwich HMV Institute Library Birmingham

‘This song is about how to kill people’ says tonight’s support Daughter AKA Elena Tonra.

That is a strange statement, but tonight is a strange evening. The applause that greets the end of every one of Daughter’s songs is lavish, afterwards the room falls back into silence, a haunting effect but haunting is perhaps the best adjective to describe Elena’s music.
That and beautiful.

ben leftwich

Although many people may have never heard of Benjamin Francis Leftwich, the HMV Institute Library is pretty near to capacity. When Benjamin Francis Leftwich (or Ben for short) finally appears it is just him, no band. The politely spoken 22 year old will later reveal “Before this tour there was a lot of talk about if I would take a band with me or do it solo. But I wanted to do the way I wanted so thank you for sharing it with me.”

The band is not missed, the young man from Yorkshire projects his blossoming songs perfectly without help, and at moments it’s just like having the record played back to you. Songs like ‘Pictures’ and ‘Butterfly Culture’ showcase his talent beautifully and the silent audience hang on his every word. Lit by a flickering LED canopy at one point Leftwich decides to debut a new song ‘Break the Day Open’, without the aid of a microphone.

His song writing may be simple “My harbour has a boat in it, the water makes its way round it.” he sings, relishing the attentive audience, but his finger-plucking songs and soft voice are hard not to adore.

The show flies by, and he ends most notably with single ‘Atlas hands’. He may be a good name to drop at parties right now, but tonight’s performance suggests there is more to Benjamin Francis Leftwich than just a flash in the pan. It’s not often a plucky man with a six string can silence a room the way he did tonight armed with just a guitar.