Live Review: Brooke Bentham – Surf Café, Tynemouth

On completing her degree of Popular Music at London’s Goldsmiths University, Brooke Bentham returned to her North East roots for her debut EP launch for The Room Swayed. On this sweltering sunny day people had gathered early and packed out the North East’s ‘best independent music venue.’ There was a special vibe in the air to welcome Brooke back.

Opening the night was Tom Joshua, who hails from just down the road in Teeside and brought an air of Damien Rice crossed with Passenger, with his backing band sounding very polished as he delivered songs such as his latest release Meteor Showers.

Hailing from Lincolnshire, adopted Geordie Mat Hunsley and his band added to the atmosphere. There are many writers out there that can deliver captivating lyrics but as Mat sang his words it was like a narrative of our daily lives that flowed effortlessly and truly hit home. The lyrics, “It’s not why or when or where you’ve been,” from his new single Do You Need Me Near sends a warmth to the soul.

This night though belonged to Brooke. Many had walked past hoping to grab a last minute ticket and people were sneakily fighting over the ‘best view’ as she and her band, which she formed while in London, took to their places whilst an air of silent anticipation filled the venue. Brooke is an endearing character. The fact that this night was dubbed as her official EP launch and that she actually forgot to bring her EPs to sell made her more so.

Brooke delivered a mesmerizing set with old songs like Oliver and a track written when the now 21 year-old was just 16, delivered with so much maturity this night as it was back then. And that is the beauty of Bentham. With a band or solo, her emotionally charged vocals enticed the crowd and forced them to just stop and listen and drink the performance in. Whilst Bentham’s set was on the short side, this was not surprising with such a small back-catalogue, though we were still desperate for more. And as this wonderful performance ended with her track Heavy And Ephemeral – a track described as ‘full of light and darkness in equal measure,’ much like Bentham herself, there is no doubt that there will be more brilliance to come.

Words & Image by Victoria Ling