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Richard Hawley at The Pyramids, Southsea

 

That Richard Hawley, previously know as Yorkshire’s finest troubadour, chooses to open his set with the title track to his new album – the Mercury Prize nominated Standing at the Sky’s Edge is a statement of intent.

For the past six albums Sheffield’s Hawley has been a fine crooner, but his new album has taken a lurch into psychedelic rock – and it’s none the worse for the stylistic change.

He follows it up with another new song, Don’t Stare at the Sun, which he introduces as a song about flying a kite whilst on acid.

The set leans heavily on the new material, but he also takes it down a notch or two for the sweet Hotel Room and a beautiful Tonight The Streets Are Ours, full of trebly guitar and 1950s-stylings.

He also gives a suitably retro take on downloading: `I don’t do MP3s, like I wouldn’t go into a shop and ask for a bucket of steam,’ – to loud applause.

And we’re all invited to a post-gig party under the pier, before an epic wig-out of newies Time Will Bring You Winter and Down In the Woods to close the set.

Apparently, as we’re by the coast, it’s a sublime The Ocean to encore.

After the Arctic Monkeys said ‘call 999, Richard Hawley’s been robbed,’ when they won the Mercury in 2006, don’t bet against him this time.

 

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