Richard Hawley @ The Octagon

“Just so you know, last night was boss.”

The Pitsmoor-born crooner says as he’s greeted warmly by the sell out crowd at Sheffield’s Octagon venue. It’s the second of two sell outs in his hometown, in a venue that is surprisingly suited to his show.

You think of Hawley, the ballads and the strings and immediately think of his show at the City Hall last time around – a more traditionally grand venue. The Octagon’s wide dancefloor and stage (which featured three screens showing accompanying visuals) encourages the audience to get into the groove a little bit more – something which was likely on Hawley’s mind following the release of his more-rocking eigth studio album Further – from which the majority of this set-list was focused on.

The current crop of tunes stand up against the old classics, for sure. ‘Midnight Train’, ‘Off My Mind’ and ‘Emilina’ are all classic Hawley, and with monstrous tunes like ‘Standing at the Sky’s Edge’ and ‘Tonight the Streets Are Ours’ interspersed throughout, the crowd are in the palm of his hand. Hawley takes a moment or two to interact with the crowd, including dedicating a song to his son in the audience which was received almost comically with an “awww” from the mums in the audience.

A tender moment in ‘For Your Love Give Some Time’ in the encore is a highlight. For all the rock and roll bravado, Hawley’s ability to hush a crowd into a gentle sway is majestic.

“We do love you Sheffield, thanks for coming out.” The pleasure was ours, Rich.

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