Richard Hawley @ Sheffield City Hall
Much like a bottle of his beloved Henderson’s Relish, admiration for Richard Hawley runs thick throughout families from Sheffield, with those of all ages and tastes partial to a bit of the Pitsmoor crooner’s shtick. The sell-out City Hall crowd reflected this diversity well, and when the main man stepped onstage – dressed as standard in denim jacket, rolled up jeans and rockabilly quiff on point – the welcome proved that the best place to see Richard Hawley is undeniably in his hometown.
After opening proceedings in dark, powerful fashion with Hollow Meadows favourite ‘Which Way’, he quickly whisked the audience back to the nostalgic romanticism of 2007’s Lady’s Bridge with ‘The Streets Are Ours’. Throughout the show, the seasoned performer showed this talent for juxtaposing melt-in-your-seat love ballads such as ‘I Still Want You’ and ‘Open Up Your Door’ alongside thumping rock numbers like ‘Standing At The Sky’s Edge’ and ‘Down In The Woods’.
The trademark Hawley banter was there as he joshed with Brexiteers (“Ever get the feeling you’ve been conned?”), the home support (“Without you lot, we couldn’t afford booze or cocaine!”) and his drummer for having the nerve to come from Birmingham (“I suppose somebody fucking has to!”). On a more sincere note, devoting songs ‘Don’t Stare At The Sun’ and ‘What Love Means’ in turn to his son and daughter gave the show a distinct homely feel; with the additional 2,000 or so locals in attendance feeling very much part of extended family as the singer reiterated his honour of sharing the evening with them. The obligatory encore opening with the classic ‘Coles Corner’ and closing on a hypnotic rendition of ‘The Ocean’ left the audience in no doubt that tonight, Richard, the honour was very much ours.