Ben Howard and his band stopped by The Shrine auditorium on Tuesday night to play songs from his excellent new album, I Forget Where We Were. It was Howard’s second time in Los Angeles as part of his North American Tour, also titled, “I Forget Where We Were.” This is the British singer’s largest tour to date.
Joining Ben Howard at the Shrine was Willy Mason, singer-songwriter from New York that Howard has previously toured with. Mason delighted the crowd with his blues and folk-inspired tunes.
The Shrine was packed; fans filled the entire floor of the giant auditorium. Ben Howard and his band walked out on stage at 9:00 pm to much applause and cheer, and Howard greeted the crowd with a big smile and a simple, “Hello, Los Angeles.”
The show kicked off with the first track off the new album, “Small Things.” “Small Things” showcases Howard incredible skill and ability to create unique sounds with the guitar. This, along with the long instrumentals and silent pauses in his songs has become somewhat of a signature style for Howard. We kind of know we’re listening to a Ben Howard song after just having listened to the first couple chords.
Next up was “Time is Dancing”, one of the fewer light-hearted and faster-paced songs on the album. It features a catchy melody that had both the band and the crowd dancing. The song maneuvers its way through moments of almost complete silence and then quickly builds back up.
The crowd became incredibly excited when Howard began playing a great song from his first album, Every Kingdom, “Black Flies.” The song’s narrative describes a man traveling a long, lonely road as the seasons change. The band rocked out to this song for a couple minutes and closed it out with an epic ending.
Howard then played “End of the Affair,” arguably one of the best and most emotional tracks on the album. In it, he sings, “Living without her, living at all, seems to slow me down… Now I watch her running around in love again.” This song about love and then loss runs at about eight minutes in length and features two minutes of pure instrumentals. Even without words, we never stop feeling Howard’s pain. This is something we see a lot with Howard’s music, a unique ability to express emotion without lyrics.
Howard ended his set with a couple new, unreleased songs. After leaving the stage, the cheering and applause continued until Howard and his band returned and delighted the audience by playing three more songs, including “She Treats Me Well” and an old favorite, “The Fear.” The night ended with everyone singing along to the song lyrics, “I’ve been worrying, I’ve been worrying.”
Ben Howard will continue his North American tour through February 15, after which he will quickly begin his Australian tour. You can see a full list of dates HERE.
Words: Giovanna Gonzalez
Photography: Wes Marsala
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