Live Review
by SashaS

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  More on: Richard Hawley

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Richard Hawley: 'Coles Corner'
Live: Richard Hawley
The Scala, London
Thursday, September 8, 2005
Richard Hawley: artist out of but for all the times

Whether Antony and The Johnsons were eligible to be nominated and win the Nationwide Mercury Music Prize Award is not as important as being recognized for a largely avant-garde work. It certainly raises hope that faux-outré offerings by Kaiser Chiefs and Bloc Party will be overlooked in favour of people who really try to push the mythical ‘envelope’. Or, maintain some eternal standards - such as Richard Hawley.

The same week the man’s ‘Coles Corner’ album is released, he is already on the road promoting it live. And, it is an affair of the heart, deeply emo-probing, so insightfully contemplative and intensely touching to get tear ducts engaged on several occasions. The main quality of his creativity is a sense of timelessness that also feels like an archive tense.

This is music that simply connects with the past to such an extent that it could have been recorded back in the days of the Sun Studio. Hawley’s closest ‘relations’ are Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Scott Walker, the crooners of the bygone era. His songs are tinged with country, folk, pop, mini-symphonies for the emotional wonderers. [It’s no strange that even Radiohead’s Thom Yorke has confessed to be addicted to it!]

The luscious, strings enriched and supplanted songs manage to keep it stark and intimate to touch that romantic nerve we all shelter, mixing nostalgia and melancholy without getting bogged down into pastiche. Be it the epic ‘The Ocean’, the almost-cheery ‘I Sleep Alone’, freewheeling ‘(Wading Through) The Waters Of My Time’ or the monstrously splendiferous (album) closer that is ‘Last Orders’… Set-list also contained few cuts from his previous albums: ‘Lowedge’, ‘Late Night Final’ and ‘Richard Hawley’ (mini LP).

This is an elegant event live that has more integrity than the whole current Brit-scene [whatever it may be]. This Sheffield man - former member of Pulp and Longpigs - has really found his niche and can transport you to places of your desires, dreams, fantasy land. [‘Coles Corner’ is an old meeting place in his hometown that, although out of existence for years, still figures as a huge reference point in people’s minds.]

Sublime, beautiful, brilliantly sounding… Majestic seems such a small word.

It is so superb not a single note/detail is miscalculated. [How many times can you say that about any other contemporary artisan?]

Live dates:

09 September 2005 - Rough Trade, London [acoustic/showcase]
11 September - The Leadmill, Sheffield
27 September - Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
28 September - Harmonie, Bonn, Germany
29 September - Guterbahnhof, Bremen, Germany
30 September - Knust, Hamburg, Germany
02 October - Nato, Leipzig, Germany
03 October - Magnet, Berlin, Germany
06 October - Zerwirk, Munich, Germany
07 October - Boa, Lucerne, Switzerland
08 October - Ratschenmuhle, Geislingen, Germany
10 October - Brotfabrik, Frankfurt, Germany
11 October - Botanique Orangerie, Brussels, Belgium
12 October - Maroquinerie, Paris, France
14 October - Apolo, Barcelona, Spain
15 October - El Sol, Madrid, Spain

Richard Hawley's album 'Coles Corner' is released 05 September 2005 by Mute