Richard Hawley / Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Brighton Dome, 18th October 2019
Brighton Dome has played host to many a legendary artist over the years and Friday night saw the ridiculously talented Richard Hawley return to its stage for the last night of his current tour; what better way to take refuge from the deluge of rain outside?
First up though, the opening set belonged to another stalwart of the music scene in Sam Duckworth, better known by his superhero pseudonym Get Cape Wear Cape Fly. Having seen him perform a party-worthy set with full band at 2000 Trees in the summer, it was good to hear the other side of his skills with a powerful acoustic performance – hard to pull off in a venue this size but achieved with ease and aplomb. Not averse to combining music with a social message, Duckworth could be a credible candidate as the Billy Bragg of the next generation.
To the (thankfully) minority of the crowd having a sit down chat through his set – please just stay in the bar next time, no-one cares what you said to Mandy from HR.
Richard Hawley’s career is well documented, from his first foray into music with Treebound Story to fondly remembered 90s’ outfit The Longpigs and everyone’s favourite cardigan wielding heroes Pulp, he has worked with and inspired a whole heap of artists including Duane Eddy and The Manics. Other collaborations include famously – Arctic Monkeys (on receipt of their 2006 Mercury award Alex Turner opened his speech with the immortal line ‘Somebody call 999, Richard Hawley’s been robbed’) and not so famously – All Saints (providing the guitar solo for their cover of Chili Peppers’ Under the Bridge).
In spite of this barrage of credentials, he retains an air of humility and a grounded sense of humour that makes his set entertaining in many ways. Striking a pose as he arrives on stage, the first three songs, Off My Mind, Alone and title track Further are clear indicators that his latest album is full of his deft mix of rock and balladry that gives his tracks that feeling of reassuring warmth. His rich vocal ranges from Iggy Pop to Scott Walker in a moment and there can be no doubting his guitar skills.
The set continues with songs old and new and lots of love shown for the eloquent Tonight the Streets are Ours, the simple beauty of Open Up Your Door and the heartfelt lyrics on closer Heart of Oak. Hawley makes it look effortless but there’s nothing easy about writing songs this good, singing with an intensity that hypnotises everyone in the room and then chatting to those same people like you were in the pub with your mates. Much appreciated but still vastly underrated, Richard Hawley seems to be master of all trades, jack of none.
Words and photos by Siobhan
21st October 2019