Fresh from touring with recently-infamous rock diva Jack White, there’s a sense of hot anticipation in the air of the O2 Academy’s most intimate room – usually the reserve of tribute acts and lesser-populated shows, tonight it’s jam packed and primed for New Orleans’ freshest talent.
Two things have got people talking about Benjamin Booker recently, debut demo Have You Seen My Son? which the 25 year-old uploaded to the internet to watch the playcount number tens of thousands, and his voice – a soulful velvety surprise. If that sounds like some kind of chocolatey dessert, be assured, it isn’t far off. Just under an hour of songs and instrumentals from the songwriter’s debut album – he’s joined onstage by two instrument-swapping team mates who enhance the musicianship which already packs a punch. Violent Shiver, Wicked Waters and the aforementioned single are particularly impressive live.
Booker genially interacts with his audience, he clambers guitar-in-hand over the barrier to surf the arms of his onlookers and he disappears behind the scenes to return with his rider which he disseminates forthwith. A masterclass in performance from start to finish.
Photos: Rob Hadley