It’s true. I love Ben Howard like I have never loved a musician in my life before. I’ve had plenty of favourites in the past – Angus & Julia Stone, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Boy & Bear, The Paper Kites, Death Cab for Cutie, City & Colour, and Ed Sheeran are the notable ones – but they’ve all been surpassed by another one. That’s not to say I don’t still ardently adore these artists, they just don’t hold the same place in my heart that they once did.
And, to be entirely honest, I don’t think anyone will surpass Ben in my heart.
Everything about his music just nestles right into the deep and dark corners of my heart. His lyrics, his music, his voice – it’s like they were created to fill this little niche inside me that I didn’t even know was there until I listened to his songs for the first time and got this feeling. This kind of ache in my chest at everything that his music does to me.
I don’t cry a lot, or over many things. In fact, the list is quite small (and consists of things like stories about abused animals or animals that triumph [like the bunny kitten], academia [yes, I know], sad moments in movies and TV shows, and of course when I’m hurting over something).
I saw Ben Howard live for the first time last Thursday (and missed the last train home, and ended up spending $250 on a cab but hey, that’s a story for another day), and I was able to sit down and watch the entire time. This is surprising, because the venue is all standing general admission. I’ve been there twice before and had to stand for hours on end waiting for the musician to come out and just start playing already. But for Ben I decided I wanted to watch from the balcony, and I sat down at the railing because it was an hour before the freaking pre-band (I don’t know the actual name but I call them pre-bands) came out, and most everyone on the balcony was sitting down. But even when the lights dimmed, and Ben walked onto the stage, and everyone on the balcony stood up, our little corner didn’t. I turned around, and the girls behind me just looked at me – no desire to stand.
So I got to sit and watch my musical soulmate pour his art into the air.
I have two favourite Ben Howard songs: Depth Over Distance and Only Love (he didn’t play either of them – I actually have really shit luck when it comes to musicians playing my favourite songs), and a favourite collection: Burgh Island EP (which he sang one song from as his final final song in his encore).
So when my eyes filled with tears when Ben was halfway through playing I Forget Where We Were, I was kind of surprised. I’d only ever cried at one concert before, and that was when Death Cab sang Soul Meets Body, and I was holding hands with my best friend, and everything was kind of magical. But there I was, smiling and crying at the same time. I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. I mean, Ben’s music has really touched my soul – many times, and for many months.
Anyway, I thought I would tell you guys about my musical soulmate because my last few posts on this blog haven’t exactly been full of positive things.
Out of curiosity: do you have a musical soulmate? Do tell!
P.s. Here’s I Forget Where We Were, if you want to have a listeny (although this is a bit more acoustic than how he played it at my show):