Pop-Break Live: Ben Howard (Hammerstein Ballroom)

Words & Photos by Saidy Lopez

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Ben Howard at The Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City

British singer-songwriter Ben Howard is currently touring the US in support of his second album ‘I Forget Where We Were’. The album was produced by drummer and bandmate Chris Bond. Celloist and bandmate India Bourne rounds out his trio, but he is currently performing with a six-piece band, including India and Chris.  His debut album ‘Every Kingdom’ released in 2011 went platinum and prompted him to win two BRIT awards, Best British Male Artist and Best Breakthrough Artist, in 2013. He has toured extensively, selling out shows in the US and abroad and gaining a huge following.

I had the opportunity to attend and photograph his sold out show at Manhattan Center’s Hammerstein Ballroom at the end of January. He opened with “Small Things,” seated low at the center of the stage with enough fog and back lighting to create silhouettes, star bursts and the perfect mood for the evening. It is difficult to fully feel the music from the pit. So after our two song set, we were escorted to our seats where we could enjoy the rest of the show. I got more than I expected from Ben’s passionate performance. His lyrics are gripping and his music strikes with emotion. He writes about relationships, the restless spirit and themes that are personal to him, but also resonate deeply with his audience.

The show had a nice mixture of lighting set ups that provided lovely backdrops to his poetic songs. He ended his set with “All Is Now Harmed” and followed up with a three song encore including “The Fear,” which had the audience clapping and singing along enthusiastically, “Oh, I will become what I deserve.” I will admit that live music has a unique way of making me feel alive and it sometimes touches me in such a profound way that it manifests in tears. Thanks for that Ben Howard.

Setlist:

Small Things
Time is Dancing
Evergreen
In Dreams
I Forget Where We Were
Rivers In Your Mouth
End Of The Affair
Black Flies
Conrad
Quiet Me Down
All Is Now Harmed

Encore
She Treats Me Well
Oats In The Water
The Fear

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.