Few gigs could ever be as special as one held in the majestic York Minster. Between its cold, old walls and ornate ceilings, a stage was set up on 29th March to welcome smooth, soulful Benjamin Francis Leftwich to the city. And despite being a sit-down do, it was nothing short of poignant.
Once I’d heard about this gig, I was mad for it. What a unique experience it’d be. Having said that though, Leftwich has consistently been one of those artists that conjure up a lump in my throat. His acoustic melodies and wistful vocals have genuinely made me weep at unsettling times — we all have that batch of artists that are go-tos for sad moments, right? Well he’s on my list, but I’m pretty sure that’s a compliment of sorts.
Regardless, I somehow managed to sit in the echoey cathedral for a couple of hours and enjoy each and every track, played acoustically, as they resonated around the venue. No tears either, though I could’ve wobbled during 2011’s ‘Atlas Hands’ and ‘Shine’. Man, those are emotional.
His more recent tracks still seemed to be proper crowd-pleasers — remember that we’re all seated throughout, and it was a massively mixed bag of all ages in there. ‘Tilikum’ and ‘Some Other Arms’ were standout gut-wrenchers, while newer tunes including ‘Real Friends’ and ‘Look Ma!’ had their places as well.
There was definitely something gripping about the spiritual setting and endless flow of achingly honest songs that made this gig memorably epic.