Review by:Andy Hirst
THE Picturedrome smacks of nostalgia on so many levels and so Hawley was the perfect musician for the venue.
His songs may have their roots in the 50s, but only their roots. They are timeless and capture the very essence of what live music is all about.
Hawley – who was guitarist in Pulp and Longpigs – seemed to pick up a different guitar for each song.
The crowd that packed the place was held in the palm of his hand – and rightly so. For this is a musician at the peak of his powers and very much at ease with the considerable skills he has at his fingertips.
A mix of the old and the new – he began with the haunting As The Dawn Breaks from his new album, Truelove’s Gutter, and dipped into his back catalogue before returning for the best moment of the set, the phenomenal Open Up Your Door.
Rarely has a song started so quietly and built up to such a crescendo. You felt the notes get into the very fabric of the building itself.
Soldier On – also from the album – had a similar awe and wonder to it.
Despite the craft he weaves into each song, Hawley acknowledges some are, well, not the happiest of themes.
But he has a wit he’s quick to use.
Someone shouted out it was his mate’s 71st birthday.
Hawley hit back: “And just to celebrate, here’s one of the most depressing songs I know.’’
When he asked if anyone had bought his new album, one wag shouted: “I copied it from my mate.’’
Hawley instantly replied: “Well, you’re no mate of mine then.’’
The place erupted.
During a brief technical hitch, the crowd yelled at him to play some solo rockabilly which he duly did.
As the applause died down, he turned to his band and simply said: “You’re sacked.’’
And so you felt it was an intimate gig that confirmed everything you suspected about Sheffield-based Hawley.
He’s a brilliant guitar player with a velvet tender tenor voice, a lyrical genius with a sense of humour.
You’d be a fool not to go and see him.
He’s touring this month and will be playing Sheffield Lyceum on Sunday, October 18.