6th March 2016
London-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Ben McKelvey has spent the last few years taking his earthy and honest music up and down the country and abroad. Originally starting as a drummer, a passion for song-writing led Ben to take up the guitar and even propelled him to learn other instruments in order to record his EP's. He has just released his debut album, Life & Love In England, which continues his lyrical and poetic observations of the world around him. It's this ability to construct heartfelt and universal songs that got Ben the support gig for Wet Wet Wet's current tour. For the live shows, Ben has left the one man band at home and taken to the road with his backing band, The Firebrands for a stripped down, semi-acoustic set.
The job of a support act is never an easy one, especially for an unknown act. They typically find themselves playing to an audience who are not primarily there to see them, but also performing music that is unfamiliar; Ben and his band were certainly able to capture the audience's attention with their music and youthful spirit. Ben performed tracks from his previous releases and new album including his latest single, the indie anthem, Morning I'm Gone, Working Free – dedicated to his Girlfriend for all her support, The Clash inspired Stay Young dedicated to his Mum on Mother's Day and the sleepy ode to the night before, Sunday. The songs translate well to a large arena and are so easy to relate to. There is a real familiarity with Ben's music that makes it accessible and appealing to all, breaking down generational and genre boundaries the way that all good music should.Playing an arena like the O2 can be a daunting experience for the most experienced musicians, and although they seemed in awe of the venue, the young musicians appeared to take it in their stride. Throughout the set Ben was gracious to the headline act for having him on the tour and appreciative of the audience for showing their support, in turn, they engaged with a terrific young singer song-writer who more than excelled in a support slot, no doubt it won't be too long before he's headlining shows of his own.