David Ford – London Camden Proud Galleries – live review
David Ford ”â London Camden Proud Galleries
25th March 2012
This London show is the biggest and last show on David Ford’s short UK tour labelled as an intimate solo show that will focus on the many piano based songs that he has written and recorded during his career. It’s called in some unusual venues, and tonight it’s the turn of the dreadful Proud Galleries.
Whilst that sounds like a typical singer-songwriter blurb, David Ford is no run-of-the-mill artist. Formerly of the angst-sub-punk Easyworld, who troubled the nether regions of the charts around the turn of the century, he’s produced three stunning solo albums I Sincerely Apologise For All The Trouble I’ve Caused, Songs For The Road and Let The Hard Times Roll since leaving his band in 2004 in addition to many standalone EPs chock full of angst, vitriol and the occasional love song. He’s built up a strong live following in that time without ever making the breakthrough that was anticipated. He’s now recording on his own label and this tour supports the release of the Ford 4.2 EP, ahead of a full album release later this year.
It’s always been Ford’s live shows that have made him stand out from the masses of male solo artists though. No two tours are the same, some he’s out on his own, some he’s had a female backing vocalist / violinist / trumpet player and others he goes out with mates from his home town of Eastbourne. In fact, no two shows are the same as he switches the set around nightly.
As promised, the set spans his entire career. It covers all bases from the loop-filled State Of The Union and the aching I Don’t Care What You Call Me from his debut album that first brought him to the attention of the music press and major labels, through the difficult second album and the heart-wrenching title track telling of loneliness on the road and loved ones at home to the more measured anger of Panic and Stephen from the third album. There’s also room for four songs from the 4.1, 4.2 and Austerity Measures EPs from the past twelve months and a piano cover of The Smiths’ There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and a snippet of (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher thrown into the middle of Decimate.
David is, as ever, utterly compelling on stage, whether guitar in hand rocking out, seated at his home-made piano singing about love and desperation or running round adding all sorts of strange instruments to the loop pedals, whilst setting to rights the ills of politics and the economy and life in general. His shyness when addressing the crowd charms those not already under his spell into submission. There’s silence in the room when he’s in the more introspective moments of the set as the audience is captivated.
He should be playing to much, much bigger crowds than this and it’s a travesty that he’s not. The only slight concern is there’s a inkling in the set-closer Every Time that he’s settled for the fact that he’s never going to get that acclaim and recognition he so rightly deserves. Two of the new songs, great songs that they are, What’s Not To Love and Philadelphia Boy don’t sound like they could only have been written by David and there’s not much in his back catalogue that you can say that about. A little part of the music industry needs David Ford angry and with something to say about life and love and society and wanting to make people hear it. Tonight’s show shows he still has that fire in his belly and hopefully it will be transferred into his fourth album.
David should be back on the road later in the year in who knows what guise. If you haven’t seen him, you should. There’s very few unique acts left out there and Mr Ford is very very special indeed.
He played :
Go To Hell
What’s Not To Love?
Waiting For The Storm
Decimate / (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher
If You Only Knew
Song For The Road
Pour A Little Poison
To Hell With The World
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
I Don’t Care What You Call Me
Call To Arms
What Would You Have Me Do
Till The Day
State Of The Union