When I walked into the Bowery Ballroom last night I would have never guessed that the show I was about to see would be great. Don't get me wrong, I have heard some amazing things about UK singer/songwriter David Ford from my co-workers, and I was excited to see him since I missed his performance at SXSW. The thing is that Aqualung, the headliner for the night, has cultivated a mishmash of fans that range from young couples that probably had their Senior Prom dance to "Strange And Beautiful" and soccer moms, to industry suits and indie kids like me. Honestly it made me worried that these people who might have not heard of David Ford's music would be loud and obnoxious during his set. Sometimes people don't have the patience to discover, or in some cases sit through, an opener. As a result, crowds can sometimes make or break a concert experience. Thank goodness last night wasn't like that and the devoted Aqualung fans were open to check out something new.
David Ford quietly took the stage at 9pm sharp with no one but a female backing vocalist. He was dressed the part of a dapper man, wearing a sports coat and a hat that looked like something my Grandfather would have worn back in the '40s. It was charming, intimate and unique, just like his concert last night. He started the set off with some of his acoustic ballads off his debut CD that comes out today, I Sincerely Apologise For All The Trouble I've Caused, including "I Don't Care What You Call Me" and "Cheer Up (You Miserable Fuck)." He then quickly moved into his electric guitar ballads such as "Don't Tell Me." Hands down the highlight of the night was the next to last song, "State Of The Union." The pissed off song is something that really needs to be experienced live, as the recording just doesn't do it justice. During his passionate performance David threw off his hat and looped/layered an acoustic guitar, his vocals (screams included), a tambourine, maracas, piano and a drumbeat off the guitar. The DIY way that he created this song was very similar to another favorite artist of mine, Joseph Arthur. David really got into this song and at one point I swear I thought that his veins were going to burst open out of his skin. I'm still questioning as to why he didn't end his set with this piece, because it truly is hard to follow up. Instead he opted to end it with a ballad dedication to his wife back home.
Most impressively, David Ford made fans last night. Those aforementioned youngsters, soccer moms, indie kids and even the jaded industry people not only were attentive, but they were responsive as well. It's nice to see a real musician with real talent, and not just another hyped up blog band. I suggest seeing David Ford while he is still in the States. He has one more date tonight with Aqualung and then will tour the rest of May with fellow Brits, Gomez. If you go, make sure that you go early enough to catch David Ford, he needs to be seen live. Oh yeah, and if you are curious about Aqualung's performance, click here to read about it from Christen.