The 23-year old Newman is one of the latest neo-soul singers to arrive in the State from the UK. His debut album Tribute was just released here but he is already selling out shows.
Although it took a while for the venue to fill up, the first few feet in front of the Bowery stage was flush with fans eager to catch John Newman at this sold out show (his first in NYC?). I was eager as well, as I had heard and enjoyed Newman’s album Tribute, knowing PopMatters was already fawning over it before it was just released in the States (Newman is amongst our artists of the year in 2013 and the best new artists). Plus this would be the first show I could photograph in the new year (the second I would attend) so it was nice to see some new music.
Tribute has earned Newman a lot of fans, drawn in by the power of his voice, that draws on music well beyond the “soul” artists his own music be categorized as. His influences include Elvis Presley Britney Spears, the Kings of Leon James Brown, Aretha Franklin and more. After opener Alexander Howard, Newman’s band came out to provide an intro, which led into the title track “Tribute” before Newman himself took the stage to a large response from the audience (video I captured is below). He performed most of the material from the album including my current favorites “Running” and the emphatic “Gold Dust” before returning for a two song encore. The crowd of people hardly moved from their spots throughout the night—Newman commanded their rapt attention as he belted out some great tunes.