Review: Benjamin Folke Thomas at The Cellars, Eastney

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This gig marked the end of a two-week tour by Swedish musician, Benjamin Folke Thomas.

Over the years, Ben has performed at Glastonbury and many venues across England, but this was his first time in Portsmouth.

The gig started with local band Pleasantville performing a number of alternative folk cover songs and originals. Jonas and Jane, americana-duo from Farnham, followed with an unbelievable set.

Their voices complemented each other as they harmonised in every song – it was a tough act to follow.

Thomas then took the stage with his four-piece band. Folk-rock filled the Cellars and got the crowd bobbing. Ben’s high energy was infectious as he played and told anecdotes about his songs. One, based on abusive texts from an ex-girlfriend, got the audience singing the humorous chorus: ‘you’re a sex addict, drug addict, irrational and gay’.

Throughout the set, the band left Ben to do some songs alone. These were slow and heartfelt compared to the fast-paced songs with the band such as ‘Popper’. The sophisticated lyrics drew vivid images, despite a few mistranslations.

Gigs like these make you realise how much undiscovered talent visits Portsmouth - whether it’s folk, rock or alternative, Portsmouth is littered with well-selected live music that is waiting to be enjoyed.