Benjamin Booker live review – the night New Orleans came to London

September 3, 2014, Article by Beau Merchant in Live reviews, Music

When listening to Benjamin Booker’s (brilliant) self-titled debut album, you can only imagine the songs being performed in small, sweaty, dimly lit rooms, which is why London’s iconic 100 Club was the perfect venue for last night’s gig. It was like New Orleans had come to Oxford Street.

Sharing the stage with a drummer and bassist, Booker opened with the energetic ‘Always Waiting’ and instantly had the audience in his hand. Moving around the stage and bending his body into shapes you’d usually see in a yoga class, the signs were there that we were in for a special night.

As well as the raw, riff-heavy numbers like ‘Chippewa’ and stand-out track ‘Wicked Waters’, Booker’s lush vocals were most apparent on the beautiful and haunting ‘I Thought I Heard You Screaming’. As though he’d gurgled a bottle of Jack Daniels, Booker’s voice sounded like it was coming from someone far older than the 25-year-old on stage. You could hear a pin drop.

Closing numbers ‘Violent Shiver’ and ‘Have You Seen My Son?’ saw Booker swigging champagne, spraying it over the audience and looking like he was having the time of his life.

Speaking with him at the bar after the gig, he was a true gent and seemed genuinely humbled by the crowd’s reception. After signing an LP and planting a smacker on Mrs Stare at Books’ cheek, we left knowing we’d seen a future star. Watch this space.

Benjamin Booker’s self-titled debut album is out now. For a full list of  remaining tour dates visit his website.