Newton Faulkner returns to Manchester with a new album, a new EP, and his familiar ginger whiskered grin.
Newton played Manchester Academy 2 on May 19, with as much personality and spontaneity in his set as there were songs and old favourites.
A teapot and mug had been set up on stage inside a globe drinks cabinet, where most rock stars would have a surplus of booze, and as the man himself walked onto the stage to deafening cheers he looked humbled but very much at home.
Newton opened with a song called Pulling Teeth from his new album, the first of many songs from Write It on Your Skin to be played through the show, and the first of many to go down with resounding success.
The acoustic set was an equal mix of songs from the new album such as Subtle Clouds, Bricks and Soon, and favourites such as Dream Catch Me and Gone in the Morning.
A rare performance of People Should Smile More saw Newton really show off his skills on the guitar.
The performer proudly smiled as the crowd naturally assumed role of his backing singers, or simply completed his songs for him, guided by his guitar.
From the word go, Newton demonstrated his effortless skill on guitar and his ability to perform a show instead of a set list.
Conversation flowed easily between the singer and his audience as he responded to heckling with humour and good grace.
One member of the crowd, overcome with emotion screamed out ‘I love you, Newton!’ to which he coyly responded: “Err, thanks Mum.”
Newton played whatever came into his head, including jazz songs made up on the spot about members of the audience, then switching the style of his ditty to a beat box, demonstrating his natural versatility.
Although only two cover songs were performed throughout the gig, they were the hot topic of conversation as hecklers called for their favourite to be played.
He did not give in to their requests of old favourites however but after teasing the audience with samples of old covers of his, he finally unleashed his version of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition.
The song had Newton’s signature guitar sounds stamped right across it, and it went down to rapturous applauds.
From his conversation, personalised tracks and the cosy mug of tea from which he sipped throughout the show, Newton made the audience feel as though they were at Manchester Academy to be with him, not simply to see him.
Having told MM that Manchester always stands out on a tour, Newton said: “I’ve had so many good times there.
“They’re always really good nights and the crowd is always amazing.”
Newton’s EP Sketches is out May 19, and his album, Write It On Your Skin, is out soon.