Richard Hawley’s performance at the Usher Hall was a masterclass in musicianship and emotional resonance. Known for his smooth baritone voice and rich, melancholic soundscapes, Hawley delivered a captivating set that left the audience spellbound from start to finish.

The night opened with Singer songwriter John Smith providing support for the gig. Just him, his guitar and pedals, centre stage. The crowd quickly showed their pleasure at his beautiful songs, clever lyrics and incredible voice. At times it was like having John Martin and Rab Noakes in the room. His set went down incredibly well. Take the chance to see him when you can.

Hawley opened the night with She Brings the Sunlight from his 2012 album Standing at the Sky’s Edge immediately setting a high energy tone. The audience was drawn in by the lush arrangements and Hawley’s ability to evoke deep emotions with every note. He followed with Two for his Heels and Prism in Jeans from his newly released album In this City They Call You Love both received a great ovation from the Edinburgh crowd.

Next up was a crowd favourite Open Up Your Door which showcased his knack for blending timeless melodies with heartfelt lyrics. The setlist spanned Hawley’s extensive catalogue, including highlights such as Coles Corner, Tonight the Streets Are Ours and The Ocean. Each song was performed with a precision that underscored Hawley’s reputation as a consummate professional. His guitar work was as impressive as his vocal delivery, particularly during Standing at the Sky’s Edge where his intricate playing added intensity to the performance.

Hawley’s band was in top form, providing a solid and dynamic foundation for his soaring vocals and intricate guitar lines. The interplay between the musicians was seamless, each member contributing to the rich tapestry of sound that perfectly complemented Hawley’s style.

The atmospheric lighting and great sound quality further enhanced the immersive experience.

Between songs, Hawley’s interactions with the audience were warm and genuine. He shared anecdotes and expressed his gratitude, creating an intimate atmosphere despite the size of the venue. His charm and wit were evident, making the audience feel like they were part of a special, shared experience. When the Edinburgh crowd were chanting for an encore Richard asked the ‘Don’t you have a second home to go too!’

One of the standout moments of the evening was Hawley’s performance of Tonight the Streets Are Ours.  The stripped-down arrangement allowed his voice to take centre stage, filling the venue with a sense of vulnerability and raw emotion. Another highlight was the encore, where Hawley performed the Royal Jesters’ Love Me with an energy that had the audience on their feet, applauding and cheering for more.

Richard Hawley | Pic: Calum Mackintosh

Richard Hawley’s gig at the Usher Hall was a tribute to his enduring talent and artistry. His ability to connect with the audience through his music was wonderful to be part of, and this performance was a reminder of why he remains such a popular person in the music world. Fans old and new left the venue with a sense of having witnessed something truly special. If you have the chance to see Richard Hawley live, it’s an experience not to be missed.

Words by Graeme White @head_in_the_bass_bin
Pictures: Calum Mackintosh @ayecandyphotography