Who.. Loves.. Newton.. Faulkner.. ?

Rachel Folwell and Amelia Viney 29 October 2009

“Borderline Newton-Stalkers” Rachel Folwell and Amelia Viney have nothing but praise for Newton’s Corn Exchange gig

Read no further if you are in search of an objective review of the unbelievably fantastic concert that rocked (and by rocked we mean chilled-the-hell-out-of) the Corn Exchange last Friday.

NO, we have never written a review before. YES, we are borderline Newton-Stalkers, but all the heckles and sing-alongs would suggest we write with the backing of the eclectic crowd that sold out Cambridge’s largest venue.

There was a support act. She was called something like Laura and came with some Australian tag-alongs. Very cute, but ultimately a distraction – like the emergency debate at the Union people only sit through to ensure the best seats for the real action.

This musically-challenged duo then spent the mandatory 45 minute lull pondering in wonderment the need for another interlude of sound checks between support acts and the BIG SHOW.

This was especially pressing as two hours of anticipation, speculation and regret (all snacks smuggled in were long gone) were challenging our pump-clad feet – serious kudos to the girls in heels.

Just as we were resorting to choreographing dance routines with the nearest group of boys invading our personal space, Newton entered to save them.

And there stood our dream guy, swallowed by ginger dreadlocks, with an ecstatic smile and an acoustic guitar (if anyone asks, we have now taken to considering last Friday as being our first date).

And so was the scene for the next 90 minutes of musical genius.

Truly a one man show, there really was no-one else on stage (bar a brief rendezvous with a dancing alien).

Thrifty Faulkner thought it a waste to hire a band to do something he and his fiddly-foot-pedalled instrument could achieve alone.

So with his unparalleled ‘finger magic’ (shameless bias, we know), he created enchanting melodies by finger-tapping, drumming and picking, with his acoustics coloured by synths and strings at the touch of a pedal.

With nobody to play with but the crowd, Faulkner showered us with attention, playing favourites from his 2007 album Handbuilt by Robots and the 2009 release, Rebuilt by Humans.

Newton (note the first name terms) plays heartfelt acoustic blues, and pens songs that can provide a soundtrack for every moment of life.

While we’ve never actually seen a UFO, his song dedicated to the Unidentified Flying Objects reminded us of all those wondrously bizarre daydreams we find ourselves lost in during 9am lectures.

“She’s Got the Time” is a hopeless tale of unrequited love and social ineptitude, with such lyrical gems as “I said do you want a Haribo? She said NO!”

 While the simple but true “People Should Smile More” left us with something to reflect on in the moments between essay crises. This songwriter’s magic lies in the fact he can sing what we’re all thinking better than even we can express.

It’s hard not to be won over, when, even at the end of his sold out UK tour, and he was still humble enough to feign ecstasy at a crowd singing his lyrics back to him, word for word.

He seemed to be as easygoing as his laid-back sound, regularly riffing with the audience, and even entertaining a heckler from the balcony who couldn’t suppress a primal cry of “Newton, I want your babies.”

After a second of serious thought he concluded, “But they’d be ginger…that’s just cruel.”

Original until the end, Newton finished by sharing with us his anti-encore philosophy, choosing to play another ‘one-last-song’ rather than expect the traditional cheers and applause pleading for his return.

All the better for us, more time with Newton.

Whether he’s Handbuilt by Robots or Rebuilt by Humans, we couldn’t care less – We.. Love.. Newton.. Faulkner.

Rachel Folwell and Amelia Viney