Ben Howard’s Free Sample show at Reggie’s Rock Club was an intimate show with a band who made it very clear that they are capable of outgrowing the club environment. Because of that, the show was a very special evening that perfectly captured the idea behind XRT’s Free Sample concert series.
Ben Howard’s band soundchecked “Only Love” for almost an hour. Their attention to detail in the live mix paid off as every instrument played during the entire show was clear and integral to the overall sound. The band was entirely focused on their instruments and completely free any stagy posturing. If there’s any ego at all it’s probably in the group’s name. To say that bassist/cellist/percussionist/vocalist India Bourne and drummer/bassist/singer Chris Bond are earning their keep as a backing group is an understatement. The band matched Howard on his own impressive level and should maybe consider getting their own name since their show felt like such a group effort, a sum of three very talented parts.
The crowd paid close attention, echoing Howard’s vocals for call-and-response sections of his songs an cheering for every special move: forming guitar chords with the hand arched over the neck, switching from acoustic to electric, etc. When the band worked up to a swelling conclusion with full-body drum hits and bent down guitar shredding, the room full of fans were right there matching the band’s energy.